content is king, here's a coronation cloak. MovieLogger is a
text-based logging tool for QuickTime movies, mounted in a clean
and useful interface, and represents the next of a line of productivity-enhancing
products from Digital
Heaven. This convenient product comes from the same folks
who brought you the outrageously inexpensive and very useful
DH filter plug-in package for Final Cut Pro. Witness VideoSpace,
a Tiger widget for calculating disk space for any codec. DH was
also the first to develop a field-addressable analog dropout
fix filter, DH_Dropout, and the first to issue a polished MultiCam
XML editing solution, both for FCP. DH was in fact the first
London-based post facility to switch from Avid to Final Cut Pro!
Their future efforts will focus on more toolmaking for FCP editors.
Library View in MovieLogger.
Orange headline indicates loaded clip. Green indicates mouse
selection. Notice additional info popup.
Now, why would you log your master clips
in anything but FCP or Cinema Tools?
Well, first, MovieLogger is a speed-dedicated
tool with more room for comments and descriptions, yet forgoes
the detail you may not need from Cinema Tools, especially if
you're not contemplating film finish.
Second, it allows you or an assistant
without an FCP license to affordably process captured QuickTimes
from a FireWire drive attached to any old Mac or iBook running
OSX and mark them up for later import to FCP.
Third, it allows you to field-process
QuickTimes coming from tapeless devices such as Focus Enhancements'
FireStore, and if you've been reading up on direct-to-disc technology
you realize products like MovieLogger are forward looking.
Fourth, it'll be quite useful in shared
storage workgroups where a log can be handed off to editor(s)
for nimble assembly.
Pre-logging is hardly new. It comes from film workflow in the form of marked scripts and script supervisor's notes, and continued in efficient video production. When I worked on PBS "Antiques Roadshow" way back in Season 2, field shoots were prelogged on a Newton, timecode wirelessly drawn from BetaCam. It was pretty cool to take a ShotLogger file in Avid Log Exchange format, download it to my Mac desktop at the station and have all the offline shots predefined, tagged, commented, ready for batch capture with very little timecode correction needed. And every Avid editor knows MediaLog,
which does much the same thing.
I was reminded of this workflow when
I opened MovieLogger, but it's neater. Load a QT clip into the
ML interface, tap keys with Control depressed to play, to mark
Ins and Outs, and the timecode lists automatically. Add comments
or shot description as desired. Log lists are "live"--
clicking on a log in the list will instantly locate the content
at that log's marked In point on the ML timeline, and it's easily
changed or deleted. Out points are optional-handy if you later
wish to change markers into In-Outs, or subclip in FCP.
controls and Log List area. Orange TimeStrip indicates loaded
clip. The bar is scrubbable. Diamonds represent your In-Out selects.
It's possible to log a huge amount of detail for each shot.
It can be very refreshing to view camera
content outside of the FCP interface, which can pull you into
"edit mode" rather than "what have I got?"
mode. I enjoy several features of MovieLogger and one of them
is "Jumpback"-the ability to punch a key and have the
playhead rewind, let's say five seconds earlier, to re-view content.
There are two user-definable settings for Jumpback.
This is truly a content viewing mechanism
and caters to assessment. You can quickly jog, shuttle, play
or reverse the material, tweak the log for highest efficiency
and maintain a pre-edit objectivity where you can discover the
material with minimal distraction. I find the ML viewer has the
flavor of a movie theatre screen, which I find helpful. Indeed,
you can toggle to full screen mode to get even closer to the
material. And either 4:3 or 16:9 displays correctly.
Convenient Big Screen
Up to 16 movies can be imported
into a MovieLogger project and selected from the Library View.
What, you say? You have 90 reels? Then simply break them into
several handy ML projects. The current clip can be viewed using
the on-screen or full keyboard transport and log controls, including
J-K-L, with Control key depressed.
Export any or all project
Export the final log for import to FCP
via XML, or to Rich Text Format (RTF), simultaneously if desired,
for further text editing, databasing or printing, which also
makes MovieLogger perfect for tasks like language translation
FCP XML Import options.
Each master shows up in the Browser as
a marked online clip. Zip from one to the next Marker with Shift-M,
mark an In and Out with Control-A, then edit. It's a rapid assembly
Since Marked regions are easily turned
into In-Out points and those easily turned into subclips (Command-U),
you can have essentially a workflow of logged selects from each
camera master. You could automate this into a batch process with
macro sequencing utilities like QuicKeys (www.startly.com). If
you like, you can then make them independent clips and consolidate
these as real master clips, pulling prints and holds just like
some of us used to pin into our trim bins when assembling a "scene
kit" for a session on upright Moviola or Steenbeck. Okay,
you might not be that nostalgic and actually want everything
online, but be aware, it's not so bad to lose huge clips in favor
of short selects.
|Markers display in clip viewer, with
captions from your MovieLogger Log List.
Shots logged with optional Out points show up as extended Marker
There are other logger utilities out
there, but some, like CatDV,
are too cluttered just for grappling with content and simple
logging tasks. Why pay for features you don't need?
There will likely be a need for a pro
version which expands the number of movies in a project; the
need for FireWire and RS422 device control for those who are
deskbound without FCP who want a choice between logging existing
captures or pre-logging to define offline clips for batch captures,
more fully emulating Avid's MediaLog. I could see the need for
an advanced content search, thumbnail display, et al; even the
ability to transcode a batch list for Avid ALE or FCP XML format
or some format I can't even think of. But ML 1.0 alone has some
nice touches for pro's, such as audio boost for material recorded
at lower levels for broadcast delivery. It even features an autosave.
I suspect Digital Heaven will wait to
hear from users and be guided by their needs. They have certainly
answered some of mine with MovieLogger.
Digital Heaven offers a feature-restricted
demo (three movies in a project, three logs) which lets you sneaketh
into the king's quarters and don the coronation cloak to see
if it fits.
Download from the Digital Heaven web store at
copyright©2005 Loren S.
Loren S. Miller
writes, directs, produces, designs, but really wants to edit.
No, he hasn't been to a Renaissance Fair. Yes, he often meows
like a cat at the drop of a mouse. Reach him anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. Buy his world-renown KeyGuides
right here at the lafcpug
Store to help subsidize more great articles from his raging