Media and metadata travel through various applications during the process of making a movie or series. Many tasks need to be performed repeatedly typically every shooting day. Consistency is key, so duties like creating custom reports, transferring looks and clip metadata from set to post facilities, dailies labs, or editing rooms must be handled in the exact same manner every day. Providing data in a consistent way ensures that the next operator (for example, the dailies colorist or assistant editor) or a third-party application can properly process the files transferred from the set.
While in some cases, the repeated tasks are relatively simple and solved with one mouse click, other cases require multiple steps, like selecting all clips shot with a particular camera on that shooting day or exporting corresponding look files for only circled takes. Naturally, those tasks become even more time-consuming and error-prone the more manual steps are needed, and the more people are involved.
DITs and data managers use the desktop applications Silverstack and Livegrade on set to collect a broad range of information directly from the camera. ShotHub provides cloud services that make this information available to anyone in the production 24/7 – through a web application and also per REST API.
In this article, we want to take a closer look into a few scenarios where a simple, custom integration with ShotHub via its REST API for accessing on-set information, can help streamline the daily process.
Sample Scenarios and Script
1. Document a Shooting Day with Per-Clip Metadata
A file in a particular text-based format (such as JSON or CSV) should be created to list file names and metadata of respective clips shot in one day. If needed, the name of the metadata fields could be adapted to match the metadata fields of a third-party application. Such a file could be used for ingesting media with extensive metadata into a MAM system so that media assets are organized and archived with a rich set of information in a structured way. That approach also works for ingesting metadata into other third-party applications for editing, transcoding, or grading in a customized way.
2. Summarize Clip Durations per Camera
For every shooting day, the usage of different camera models should be tracked for documentation. Therefore, each clips report from each different camera (Arri Alexa 35, DJI, Sony Venice, Red Komodo) is generated as a CSV file. Each report contains a list of clips, including durations, so it is easy to summarize the number and duration of all clips shot with a certain camera type on a given shooting day. That way, the editing department can check if they have ingested all footage in the editing system from a specific camera on a specific shooting day.
3. Provide Dynamic lens Metadata
The ShotHub API should be used to fetch a set of CSV files with dynamic lens metadata for multiple clips of one shooting day – filtered by certain criteria such as circled (flagged) tags. That way, dynamic lens metadata information of circled takes can be made available to the VFX house independently of the file transfer or the EXR creation. Of course, this approach can be altered or refined for various needs. For example, a VFX house may want to filter and select clips by scene and take information if the VFX shot name differs from the original clip name.
4. Transfer On-Set Looks
After every shoot, all on-set looks created with Livegrade Pro or Livegrade Studio should be handed over as ASC-CDL files to the dailies lab. In order to match the exported files with the clips in the dailies grading, the ASC-CDL file must have the same name as the corresponding clip. A CSV file with shot metadata, such as look name, lens, and slate information, is also exported for the dailies lab. That way, the dailies colorist gets a reference to “cross-check” the grading and receives additional metadata.
Typically there is no “one fits all” workflow, and every production has individual needs depending on the creative intent, technical requirements, and resources. Custom-made scripts running regularly, e.g., every night, can streamline various workflows and might be adapted or updated easily for the next project. Providing and transferring grading or clip metadata in an automated way reduces the amount of manual work and makes sharing “how-to” instructions within a team negligible. Therefore, using scripts for repetitive and error-prone tasks such as transferring data from one system to the next for further processing saves time and enables operators on set, in post facilities, or VFX houses to focus on the creative goals. The more reliable the look information and metadata handover is, the more efficient the workflow becomes.
For more information about setting API access for individual projects in ShotHub see the article Getting Started with the REST API