Digital Video Post Workflow: Output NLE Video Assets for Archive

Archive video in the digital video workflow. Flickr photo by BrentDPayneThroughout the digital post-production workflow, we’ve taken the care to make sure that the organization of our digital assets was optimal from the early stage of input through editing. Now it’s time to prepare the media for saving into a video asset management system and to make space for new projects on our local storage.

This week we’ll be discussing the best practices for outputting your video. When I say outputting, I’m talking about saving your video for archiving, and not the format for distribution. The output for distribution depends more on the needs of your client or end-user, so we won’t be discussing that here. The goal of the output for archive is to do our best to maintain the highest quality and to try to guarantee that it will be a usable format in the future.

Archiving of your video involves saving the final sequence as a single video file, as well as saving all of the source files used to create that sequence.

When saving the sources, I am of the school to save the clips used in their entirety rather than truncated versions of those clips. This is a personal preference. There is nothing wrong with consolidating your sequence before archiving, but I prefer the added flexibility of archiving the original full-length clip.

In some cases it might be a good idea to save the final video in two forms: the same format as the original sequence and, if the original format is proprietary, in a generic format as well.

After you’ve collected both your source files and sequence file(s), it’s time to put everything into your video asset management system. In the Merlin system, it’s a good idea to place all of the files that are related (source files and sequence files of a video) into the same Merlin project. That way you are virtually keeping them all in the same place, making it easier to find each of the elements. If you do end up saving your sequence in multiple formats (to make sure your video is “future-proof”), use the Linking feature of Merlin DAM to keep them connected.

Posted by James Burke
Flickr photo by BrentDPayne

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