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Cinema Tools

Cinema Tools is your metadata tracking database, which allows you to edit film transferred to video and return to film to conform the work print and negative. Cinema Tools works closely with Final Cut Pro to track more than your film metadata; it also tracks duplicate frames, opticals, and titles.

Note

Duplicate frames are any additional frames of negative that must be optically reproduced. Opticals include transitions and motion effects. You need to account for duplicate frames, opticals, and titles in the final film conform because they can increase the budget.


Although you can create a new database and enter information manually in Cinema Tools, you will usually work with a telecine event log to kick-start your database. Your typical workflow with Cinema Tools and Final Cut Pro will include the following steps:

  • Create and export a Cinema Tools database.

  • Capture the source clips in Final Cut Pro.

  • Connect the clips to the database.

  • Prepare and edit the clips in Final Cut Pro.

  • Create cut, duplicate, optical, and title lists with Cinema Tools. (See Lesson 6.)

The Database

The Cinema Tools database is at the center of your project. You’ll use it to track all your elements. Your database must include the camera roll, daily roll or lab roll numbers, and the edge code. And it must have a clip connected to it or have video reel or video timecode numbers. Cinema Tools uses these values to produce a cut list. If a record is inadequate, Cinema Tools will flag it in the cut list as <missing >; you can produce a missing elements list through Cinema Tools. After you identify missing elements, you can update your database within Cinema Tools.

Your Cinema Tools database can be detailed or streamlined. You can work in many different ways, by scene-and-take or camera roll. You can add, delete, and merge databases. In the next section of this lesson, you will work with a detailed database. You’ll use a project of your own to practice importing a log from a telecine session and add new records.

Import a Telecine Log

Cinema Tools supports the telecine log formats of ALE, FTL, FLX, and ATN. Although you can import a telecine log directly into Cinema Tools, importing the log through Final Cut Pro is easier because the offline clips from the telecine log will be imported into Final Cut Pro simultaneously.

1.
From your own Final Cut Pro project, choose File > Import > Cinema Tools Telecine Log.

2.
Click the Choose Database button.

Tip

If you are working with multiple camera angles, and you need to add a camera letter, then choose the Add Camera Letter option, and choose the applicable camera letter from the pop-up menu.

3.
Navigate to your telecine log, and click Choose.

Your offline clips will appear in Final Cut Pro ready for batch capturing.

You can also import your telecine log directly from Cinema Tools:

1.
Choose Database > New Database.

2.
From the pop-up menu, choose all your settings: Film Standard, Video TC Rate, Audio TC Rate, and TK Speed.

3.
Name the database, and choose a location to save the file.

Tip

Save all your databases together in a folder titled by project name (for example, SU&FR_Project_databases). Be methodical and organized; back up your databases together with your Final Cut Pro projects daily.


Although you can export a standard batch list, export an XML batch list instead. An XML batch list is incredibly useful because it gives you access to all the film metadata that’s viewable in Final Cut Pro. (See Lesson 5 for more information on XML, eXtensible Markup Language.)

1.
In Cinema Tools, choose Database > Open Database.

2.
Navigate to the Lessons folder. Click to select Lesson 04 Database, then click Open.

The database opens, displaying a List view and a Detail view. No clips are connected to this database.

Tip

You cannot export an XML batch list from a database that has clips connected. You must first disconnect the clips prior to the export.

3.
Choose File > Export > XML Batch List.

4.
Save the export XML batch list as Lesson 4 XML export, and click Save.

5.
Open the Lesson 04 Project.fcp file to launch Final Cut Pro.

6.
Choose File > Import > XML.

7.
Navigate to the Lesson 4 XML export file, click to select it, then click Choose to import.

The Import XML dialog opens.

You have the flexibility to choose a number of settings, from importing a new project to including markers and effects.

8.
In the Destination pop-up menu, choose Lesson 04 Project.

9.
For the Sequence Settings, choose DV NTSC 48 kHz, and select the Override With Settings From XML check box.

10.
Deselect all of the check boxes in the Options section of the dialog, and click OK.

Your offline clips are imported into your project, ready for batch capturing. They all contain the film metadata and are linked to your Cinema Tools database.

Tip

You can view the film metadata directly in the Browser or through the clip Properties window.


Manual Database Input

If you have no transfer logs, you can manually enter information into your Cinema Tools database. You will need a record for every clip that has either non-continuous timecode or key numbers. For scene-and-take, since each take may jump key numbers, you create a record for every take. For camera-roll transfers, since the key number runs continuously, you need one record for the entire clip. Although it can be tedious, entering information manually into a Cinema Tools database is easy, especially if you have the key numbers and video timecode burned into the frame.

Note

In these steps, you are viewing the clips directly in Cinema Tools. Typically, entering information into a Cinema Tools database would be done prior to capture, and you would use a deck to view your footage. However, it’s useful to know that you can create a database no matter what approach you use.


1.
From Cinema Tools, close Lesson 04 Database.

2.
Choose Database > New Database.

3.
Select the following settings: Film Standard = 35mm 4p, Video TC Rate = 30 NDF, Audio TC Rate = 30 NDF, and TK Speed = 24. Then click OK.

4.
Navigate to the Lessons folder, name your new database Lesson 4 Manual Entry Database, and click Save.

Two database windows open—List View and Detail View. You will enter information in the Detail View window.

5.
Choose File > Open Clip.

6.
Navigate to Media > Lesson 04 Media > CT Manual File Entry folder. Select the clip named 04-04-1, and click Choose to open it.

7.
Arrange the Detail View window and clip window so that you can see each side by side.

8.
In the Clip window, click the Enter In DB box.

9.
Enter Scene: 04, Take: 04, and click OK.

Note

In film language, the clip name 04-04-1 represents scene-take-angle.

The video information is automatically entered into your database, and the clip is connected.

Note

You could also enter the scene and shot information manually and connect the clip afterwards. Once you have entered the scene and shot information, in the Detail View window you can connect the clip of the record by clicking Connect Clip. If you make a mistake, in the Clip window simply disconnect the clip by clicking Disconnect.

10.
Enter the Scene description.

This scene is from Jesse Costello’s film Straighten Up and Fly Right. It’s a beach scene between two characters, God and Steven, so name the scene God & Steven on Beach.

11.
Enter the Key number. Look on the Clip window and make sure you are parked on the first frame of video.

The key number is the number that begins with a K.

12.
Play the clip in the Clip window, and when you see a frame that is representative of the entire clip, pause the playback, and click Poster Frame.

13.
Enter an appropriate take note under the poster frame in the Detail View window.

Once you have finished entering information in the database, close the Clip window and repeat steps 5 through 13 to complete the remaining clips.

14.
After you have completed the exercise, press Cmd-W to close Lesson 04 Manual Database.

In this exercise, you manually entered minimum information. Of course, there are many details you left out that you would normally enter, such as the Camera, Daily, Lab, and Sound Roll numbers. The sound timecode information could also be entered from the clapboard timecode. Entering additional information enables greater tracking capabilities and increases your conform accuracy.

Note

If you are only working with film negative, you won’t need to enter the Daily Roll or Ink numbers. Entering a Daily Roll and Ink number applies only to film projects that print a work print.


Tip

If you want to include the sound roll and timecode information in the preceding exercise, you can do so by adding it to each record. The sound roll number for these clips is 01. Add the sound timecode from the clapboard timecode reading at the head of each clip.


Connect Clips on Command

You can connect multiple clips to your database by using the Connect Clips command. This is especially useful because you can automate the process of connecting. You can use the Find command to find selected records to connect, or you can use it to show all records.

1.
Choose Database > Open Database.

2.
Navigate to the Lessons folder, click the Lesson 04 Connect Clips database, and click Open.

3.
Click the List View window to activate it.

4.
Choose Keycode from the pop-up menu to view the keycode information.

5.
Press Cmd-F to display the Find dialog window.

6.
Click the Find All button to display all records in the database.

Note

Activate the Find feature in the Detail view by clicking the Find button. You can search for scene and take by exact and similar values. You can replace or add to an existing list or show the entire database. This is useful when you’re searching for particular scenes or records, especially once a database contains a lot of records.

7.
Choose Database > Connect Clips.

8.
Navigate to the Lesson 04 Media folder, and select the clip named 04-01-1.

Every record that matches a clip name in the same directory will be connected to the database.

9.
After you have completed the exercise, press Cmd-W to close Lesson 04 Connect Clips database.

Tip

You should not rename or move a clip once it is connected. If you do, the clip-to-database link is broken. As long as you have not renamed a clip, you can fix a broken link by using the Reconnect Clips command. The Reconnect Clips command works in the same way as the Connect Clips command: choose Database > Reconnect Clips, and navigate to the location of your clips.


Prepping the Clips

Prior to editing, you need to decide exactly how you will treat your footage. You have two Cinema Tools features to consider: Conform and Reverse Telecine.

Conform

The Conform feature provides a great way to correct video clip frame duration errors or change the frame rate of a clip. Every QuickTime file has a frame duration setting that tells each frame how long to display, such as 1/25th of a second for PAL. Occasionally, this frame duration during capture is set to inconsistent values. On playback, visually you will not notice the difference in the clip. However, if the clip has inconsistent frame durations, you will get errors in your cut list or errors during a reverse telecine. In these cases, you would simply reapply a clip’s frame rate to reset the frame duration.

Tip

You can check and mark long frames in Final Cut Pro. From the Browser, simply select the clip or clips you wish to check and choose Tools > Long Frames > Mark. Any clips that have long frames will be marked, and you can correct them by using the Cinema Tools Conform feature. Once you have completed the conform, you can clear the marked long frames by choosing Tools > Long Frames > Clear.


You can also use the Conform feature to change a clip’s frame rate, choosing among 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, and 30 fps. If your clip contains video and audio, the audio rate will be adjusted to maintain sync. You can apply the Conform feature to a clip with or without a database record.

1.
Choose Database > Open Database.

2.
Navigate to the Lessons folder. Click the Lesson 04 Database, and click Open.

3.
In the Detail View window, click Open.

4.
In the clip window, click Conform.

5.
From the Conform To pop-up menu, choose the frame rate you want to conform to, then click Conform.

Tip

You can batch conform all files in the same directory. Choose File > Batch Conform, navigate to the directory containing the clips you want to conform, select a single clip, and click Choose. The batch conform will be applied to all clips contained in the same directory.


Tip

Using Final Cut Pro 5, you can conform 25 fps to 24 fps directly from Final Cut Pro. From the Browser, simply select the clip you wish to conform from 25 fps to 24 fps and choose Tools > Conform 25 to 24.


Reverse Telecine

During your telecine, you converted your 24 fps film to 30 fps video. If you’re planning to edit your project at 24 fps, you need to apply the Reverse Telecine feature. This feature, which reverses the 3:2 pull-down, applies to NTSC transfers only. It works by removing the extra fields that were applied during your telecine transfer.

Tip

Allow for processing time when performing a reverse telecine in Cinema Tools. For a large number of clips, set up a batch reverse telecine and let your computer run overnight.


1.
Choose Database > Open Database.

2.
Navigate to the Lessons folder, select Lesson 04 Reverse Telecine, and click Open.

3.
In the Detail View window, click Open Clip.

4.
Press the right arrow key on your keyboard to step through the clip frame by frame, and park the playhead on an A frame.

Pay particular attention to the key number frame indicators at the end of the key number. Notice that the key number pattern on these clips is A1A2, B1B2, B3C1, C2D1, D2D3. Also note that there seems to be two fields displayed simultaneously, indicated by the number displayed at the end of the timecode number.

Identifying your film pattern is important. You will need to establish the sequence of your film frame numbers and fields in order to enter them into the Reverse Telecine dialog box. Cinema Tools needs this information to reverse telecine your footage correctly.

5.
In the clip window, click Reverse Telecine to display the Reverse Telecine dialog box.

6.
In the Capture Mode area, select F1 – F2.

We established our field and key number pattern for these tutorial clips, and based on that information, you can select the appropriate actions in the dialog. Here is how the patterns break down:

Key Number PatternField PatternCapture Mode
AA, BB, BC, CD, DD or A1A2, B1B2, B3C1, C2D1, D2D3Both fields with field 1 dominanceF1 – F2
AB, BB, CC, DD, DA, or A2B1, B2B3, C1C2, D1D2, D3A1Both fields with field 2 dominanceF2 – F1
A, B, B, C, D or A1, B1, B3, C2, D1One field with field 1 dominanceField 1 Only
A, B, C, D, D or A2, B2, C1, D1, D3One field with field 2 dominanceField 2 Only


7.
Choose Style 2 from the Style Type pop-up menu. You also need to select the frame type corresponding to the frame currently displayed in the clip window. You parked the playhead on the A frame so you can select A1A2 from the Fields options.

8.
In the File area, select New (Smaller).

If you reverse telecine a single field (Field 1 or Field 2 only), you have the option of selecting either a New or Same file. The New option creates a new file in the same directory as your source and applies a .rev file extension after the name. A New file is smaller than the source. The Same option applies changes to the original clip; no data is removed, it simply does not display the extra frames in the editing system.

Tip

If you are creating new files, you have already performed a test to check that your settings are correct, and you no longer need the original file. Simply remove the .rev extension when prompted, and replace the original file with the New clip.

9.
Choose 23.98 from the Conform To pop-up menu.

The benefit of choosing 23.98 fps is that you can use the Final Cut Pro pull-down feature to output your 23.98 fps video sequence as 29.97 fps. Choose 24 if you output tapes with a 24 fps video deck.

10.
Select the Standard Upper/Lower check box.

11.
Click OK to begin the process.

Tip

Before you apply your reverse telecine settings on the entire film, check your results on a single clip to make sure there are no errors. After your first clip has finished processing, step through it frame by frame. You should clearly see the A, B, C, D sequence. Each frame should be fully visible, legible, and sequential. If this is not the case, disconnect the clip from your database, and reconnect the record to the original clip. Try applying a different style from the Field Style pop-up menu or deselecting the Standard Upper/Lower check box.


Once you have successfully performed a reverse telecine on a single clip, you can batch telecine the remaining clips. This is useful because you’ll be able to apply your settings to an entire directory of clips. Choose File > Batch Reverse Telecine, navigate to the directory containing your clips, check your Reverse Telecine settings, and click OK. You will notice that Cinema Tools will place three new folders and one text file in the original directory: one folder containing your original clips, one folder containing your reversed clips, one folder containing any skipped clips, and a text file containing a log report. Once the batch reverse telecine is complete, you will need to reconnect your database records to the new reversed clips.

Tip

Using Final Cut Pro 5, you can perform a Cinema Tools reverse telecine directly from your Final Cut Pro project. Simply select the clip you wish to reverse telecine and choose Tools > Cinema Tools Reverse Telecine.


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