Data management on a film set has grown into a multidimensional activity. In many cases the camera card offload is just the starting point and the responsible person can become the central hub for many questions as she or he manages the central assets of the production.
Software plays an important role when it comes to answering questions about all the different aspects related to the on-set data management activities. A good DIT software should not only help you execute the necessary jobs. It should also help you build a clip library that consists of all the clip metadata as well as an accessible history of what was done when. This will make it easy to find information about clips quickly and look up past activities with ease.
A clip library that is stored independently from the managed media (for instance in a database), makes it possible to search for metadata details or answer questions about media any time. This can involve automatically gathered clip metadata, as well as metadata that was manually added by the DIT, or other helpful aspects automatically collected along the way (like e.g. backup destinations).
Here come five typical questions that could require a quick answer on-set. Let’s take a closer look at how a good DIT software makes your life easier while doing your job even better.
5 Typical Questions On-Set
Question 1: “Which clips belong to scene 2?”
Finding out which clips belong to a certain scene can help when you are looking for certain framing aspects of that scene or just for camera settings you might want to replicate.
In Silverstack, the search field in the header bar of the clips list view allows to search the clips that are inside the selected library folder. The clips list is being filtered while you type. You can use the dropdown menu to search within a certain metadata field (e.g. “Scene”, see screenshot).
Question 2: “Can you show me all high speed clips?”
If only certain shots were shot with higher sensor frame rates, at some point these clips can drown in all the other “regular” clips. Being able to access high speed clips quickly to get more information about content or metadata can save time.
In Silverstack, you can sort a selected list of clips by a certain metadata column by clicking on the table header. Sorting the clips list by sensor Fps (frames per second recorded by the sensor) will make it easy for you to scroll through the clips list, as clips with a certain sensor FPS. Usually this information is automatically imported from camera source files during offloading.
Question 3: “Do we have 3 backups of clip C008 of Reel A004 and which volumes is it on”?
Verifying if secure backups have been made for a certain clip is a natural activity if a clip from a previous shooting day might be requested in some way (for example by post operating in parallel). Identifying the locations of the clip quickly can help.
Searching for a specific clip (as described in question 1) and then looking for the right column to identify its locations gives you a quick way to answer this question.
Question 4: “Was card/reel A003 backed up properly without issues?”
Getting information about the proper backup of a certain reel can become a vital task. It proves the backup work executed, including all clip details.
It is possible to run a search on all copy jobs that were finished in Silverstack. Search for a specific card or reel and look up the details in the job view.
Question 5: “Can you show me all clips shot in Munich (tagged with “Munich”)?”
Tags can help a lot to build a content context across many clips. Though they have to be added manually, afterwards this work can decrease time relocating clips with certain aspects. In this example tags were used to mark which city the clip was shot in, for instance “Munich”.
Searching only in tags is also possible via filtering the list of clips in the list view.
More Options to Search in the Silverstack Library
We already explored some places you can search and filter for detailed information in the Silverstack library. To get the list completed, here are some more specific options that can be helpful.
First of all, here are two options that highlight more detailed search and filter options:
Beyond running a search in certain metadata fields in the clips list view, it is possible to build filter expressions. They offer a way of filtering by combined aspects, thus creating a more lightweight alternative to using smart folders.
Filter in Jobs
Beyond the possibility to search in finished jobs in the jobs view, you can also filter finished jobs by certain aspects.
Two more places to search can be found in the Volumes panel and in the General Info:
Search in Volumes
Also the volumes panel contains a search bar to filter the list of available volumes.
Search in General Info
You can use the search field at the bottom of the General Info of the right bar to filter the list of metadata fields, that can become overwhelming at times, even for power users.
The creation of a database that can contain clips, metadata, and process oriented information is a big help for finding cues quickly and answer all sorts of different questions in a film production.
In this article, we took a look at several examples in which Silverstack was used to benefit from such library search functionalities. The procedures are identical for users of Silverstack XT and Silverstack Lab.
Beyond that, the entry level data wrangling product Silverstack Offload Manager also comes with an underlying database and allows for a library export to Silverstack XT and Silverstack Lab to enable full library search options with ease.