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  • What slows you down?

  • Walter Soyka

    December 8, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Another follow-up to theWhat is editing speed? [link] thread: what slows you down?

    What’s the biggest bottleneck or frustration in your workflow? Are there any speed bumps in your workflow that are actually net positive, giving you the break you need to get perspective back?

    For me, the biggest bottleneck/frustration is asset and shot management. By the end of a project, we’ll end up with hundreds of comps spread across dozens of files. The longer a project goes on, the more time changes take to make, in part because navigating the organizational structure to get to the change is a flow-crushing interruption. (I’m eagerly looking forward to post-file-based workflows, but that’s a topic for another post.)

    Animation render time is often a net positive because it freshens our eyes — so much so that we have the internal catch-phrase “post-render feedback” to describe the ideas that really make the shot that we missed during rough previews and only caught after “final” render.

    What about you? What slows you down, both in bad ways and good?

    Walter Soyka
    Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
    Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
    @keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]

  • Simon Ubsdell

    December 8, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    [Walter Soyka]
    What about you? What slows you down, both in bad ways and good?”

    Bad slowdowns: Making bad calls as to which application to use at the start of a job and having to rework it in another application or devise a new strategy to mitigate the bad decision and carry using what we started with. Internet upload/download speeds. Clients who insist on using slow or unreliable transfer portals.

    Good slowdowns: anything that prevents us slogging away without a break and losing focus (see Herb elsewhere).

    Simon Ubsdell

  • John Davidson

    December 8, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    -Clips getting lost in timeline vertical space.
    -Generators determining speed on their own requiring me to go into motion to try to fix it with build in build out markers (I still don’t understand it).
    -Adobe releasing another disaster update that breaks real time AE Ram Previews forcing me to once again throw in the towel on AE 2015.
    -Adobe After Effects auto save. It’s like being crotch kicked for 30 seconds when you’re in the zone. Every. Five. Minutes.
    -Not being able to minimize primary when i’m in creative edit mode.
    -Clips arbitrarily getting assigned roles incorrectly with no ability to fix it on finder level before they are imported.
    -Transitions on a secondary storyline affecting audio when I want the audio to stay full and not fade with the video.
    -Digging around in finder for a designers renders, media clips, etc.
    -working with keyframes in FCPXand transforming clips
    -setting an in/out in the browser, hitting q, and either the in/out ranged clip goes into the timeline where I didn’t want it, only 2 frames goes into the clip where I did want it, or the ENTIRE clip forgets my in/out and goes into the timeline. This is probably me hitting the wrong key, but it happens so so often.

    I’ll add more later.

    John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.

  • Shawn Miller

    December 8, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    [Walter Soyka] “What about you? What slows you down, both in bad ways and good?”


    – Improperly scoped projects leading to long hours near the end of post
    – Slow review cycles
    – Unhelpful feedback (“I don’t like her hair, can we do something there”)
    – Complete change in vision near the end of post (“I know this is for marketing execs in energy, but this really should be aimed at IT workers in retail”)
    – Contributing artists who don’t share my love of project structure/organization.


    Every application has it’s quirks, but preview speed is currently a big one for me. Looking forward to seeing how AE’s preview engine will evolve in the next 12-18 months.

    Fusion – still getting up to speed, but getting faster.
    Resolve – still not great on playback speed for editorial, but it’s easier/faster for color correction
    Houdini – slow learning curve (many id10t errors at the moment)

    Good slowdowns

    – during long renders, I’m learning or laughing
    – long discussions about creative work in pre-production… helping people understand what they are actually asking me to produce.

  • Michael Gissing

    December 8, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    [Walter Soyka] “What about you? What slows you down, both in bad ways and good?”

    Like Shawn my biggest slow down are people. Hand overs from editors via xml or AAf or OMF who don’t bother reading the extensive tech brief I emailed months before who think they know exactly what I want telepathically.

    On the actual tools, software with controller hardware optimisation makes a huge difference. Powerful software with fiddly control via mouse or keyboards slows down the softwares potential. I find these ergonomics and efficiencies are key to being able to work fast but remain creative. A huge part of working fast is the ability to be able to be physically comfortable so bad monitor placement, poor lighting and bad chairs slow people much more than they might think.

    Needing to render always gave me both a break in flow but sometimes a chance to get outside and stretch.

    Trying to get maximum performance out of minimal expenditure on hardware is such a frustrating thing to slow me down that I will not hesitate to invest in grunt and proper interface amenity. Software reliability is also a huge speed bump. Crashes or sudden beach balling is a great time waster. There really is no point in having fast software on a slow computer.

  • Neil Goodman

    December 8, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    my biggest slow down is..

    review times..aka waiting on notes or approval.

    This can sometimes take hours or even a full day. Im left sitting doing nothing (not complaining about that!)

    then hours later after sitting and losing all momentum – Im asked to kick back into gear to deliver these notes before 6 and its 5:45.

    Other than that – my creative mind or lack thereof somedays is the only thing getting in my way. I like to try so many versions of one thing, that its sometimes killing my flow. I know Avid and FCP 7 so well, the software is pretty much in the background. Were on stable builds so no crashes in forever etc.

  • Jeff Markgraf

    December 9, 2015 at 7:38 am

    [Neil Goodman] “Im asked to kick back into gear to deliver these notes before 6 and its 5:45.

    Neil – boy do I feel ya there. At a certain network that currently has executive offices just off the 134 freeway, I used to tell the creative directors that if it wasn’t important enough for the boss(es) to give notes before the end of the day (when they had the rough cut at 11am), then it certainly wasn’t important enough for me to stay late to make the changes. But then, I was also a known crank and malcontent.

    Did I mention I kinda hate promo? Even after all these years…

  • Joe Marler

    December 9, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    [Walter Soyka] “What’s the biggest bottleneck or frustration in your workflow? “

    Good question. Some things we blame on the editing phase or try to fix with editing tools are actually planning and procedural issues in the pre-production and production phases.

    E.g, with documentaries (except “Cinema Direct” where it doesn’t exist) you generally want to minimize talking head time, hence need dialog or narration to cover b-roll. If the shooting plan did not specifically capture targeted b-roll for each interview, this produces a huge time wastage as the editor fishes around looking for something usable which matches the dialog. Even worse is having a great visual and trying to find matching dialog, since scrubbing through audio is slower. Of course a transcript is nice — if available. Yes FCP X and some other tools let you do that fishing very fast and organize whatever was shot, but targeted shooting is much more efficient.

    Another big frustration is when inattention or error during production causes time-consuming fixes in post. A common case is audio problems. Yes you can fix lots of that in Audition or Izotope but it takes extra time, sometimes lots of time.

  • Herb Sevush

    December 9, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    [Walter Soyka] ” what slows you down?”

    Having to manually calculate time code relationships in order to “un-lift” sections of clips.

    Having to export and then import subclips in order to efficiently use Twixtor on them.

    Having to clean up the mess that PPro’s “switch audio” option generally leaves a timeline in. It’s the best option when editing multicam with audio split out to different cameras, but it’s very easy to unknowingly switch camera sources on the audio when all you are trying to do is switch the video.

    When duplicating long timelines in Ppro I frequently have to close and re-open that project to get smooth playback.

    Badly directed material. Since I’m generally the director of the material I cut, I take myself out to the woodshed for a major beatdown at least once per episode.

    Herb Sevush
    Zebra Productions
    nothin’ attached to nothin’
    “Deciding the spine is the process of editing” F. Bieberkopf

  • Joe Marler

    December 19, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    [Walter Soyka] “What’s the biggest bottleneck or frustration in your workflow? “

    I’ll list deficiencies unique to PP CC and FCPX that slow me down. This may sound negative but it’s based on actual experience.

    PP CC 2015: The playback engine is just too slow on H264 4K material on normal hardware. By “slow” I mean responsiveness to JKL commands in the timeline, and Program Monitor lag time when fast forwarding through the timeline. This is ironic since traditionally Mercury Playback was so fast. However the performance falls off a cliff on H264 4K. This is on a 2015 iMac 27, 32GB GB, 1TB SSD, M395X and Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt RAID. I have also tested on similar Windows machines. You could argue “it’s 4x the data, of course it’s slower”, but FCPX handles the same 4K material on the same machine much faster.

    The playback engine apparently buffers around the current playhead position so after a while it becomes pretty quick making small movements — say using a jog wheel in the Source Monitor. But if you rapidly scrub down the timeline, it quickly exhausts that buffer and major lag appears — both in frame rate and response lag to JKL commands. This issue is further magnified since Premiere has no built-in proxy capability. In the 4K era it needs either a greatly reworked playback or built-in proxy or both.

    FCPX: While lauded for great multicam, I find the deficiencies in FCPX’s multicam are hugely irritating and time-consuming to work around. It is amazing to me these are not more widely discussed.

    E.g, you can’t stabilize or apply optical flow smoothing to a multicam clip. You can’t use a tracking plugin like SliceX on multicam. You can’t use Auditions on multicam. You can’t even use FCPX stabilization on a single-cam synchronized clip, although 3rd party Lock&Load stabilization works in that case.

    The workaround for all the multicam limitations is cumbersome and error-prone. It involves back-tracking to the original clip, writing down the time code, then opening that clip separately, jumping to the written-down timecode, blading the range and applying stabilization/optical flow there, then going back to the multicam clip. Even after applying the effect, you cannot adjust the parameters in the multicam timeline. So getting the right result often involves multiple iterations of this for each clip.

    Premiere CC has no problem applying stabilization or optical flow time remapping directly in the multicam timeline.

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