The Offline/ Online Edit Part 1

Howdy all,

About a month ago I promised a blog explaining the offline and online editing process that most of the projects you see in theatres and on television have to go through. So, here it is! Finally…

First, I think I should give you the definitions for both offline edit and online edit:

Offline Edit: The offline edit is when you are editing a project that is set at a significantly lower resolution than what your final output will ultimately be delivered in.  This process is generally used to save disk drive space, especially if your working on a long-form project. It also can help you cut equipment costs.

Online Edit: The online edit process takes place once the offline edit has been picture locked. The online editor’s job is to then take an exported file called the “EDL”  (or another form of the exported Edit Decision List, sometimes XML) and reassembles the sequence using higher resolution materials for the final output.

Okay, so now that we have the definitions out of the way I’ll show you how to properly setup your FCP Sequence for an online edit (sometimes called “Finishing”).  Since my projects are usually colored in Color, this tutorial explains how to properly setup your sequence for an online session that uses Color in its workflow.

1. Duplicate your offline picture locked sequence and label in clearly (Example: Kept_Online_1_11/30/09_09:25;09). I always add the date and the ending timecode to the sequence name, as well as the version number.

2. Go through your sequence and scan your project for any freeze frames, stills, time remap effects, speed changes and nested visual effect items. Once you have spotted them, you will have to render them out individually and re-edit them back into your sequence.  This saves a lot of work for the online editor.

3.  When some people edit they like to create something called “Build up” or “Stacking”. This is when you have saved alternate takes to other video tracks above the clip being used or you have stacked up elements to create composite effects. These will all need to be reduced down into one single video track. By the end of this step you should only have one video track “V1” being occupied.  If you have composite effects you will have to render them out and re-edit them into the sequence. The alternate takes not being used in the locked sequence should be deleted.

4. So, now your project has been properly prepared, uses the V1 track and contains only re-imported visual effect shots. The next step is to copy all your project’s elements onto the drive that you will be delivering to the finishing facility or online editor.

    1. Right click on your sequence
    2. Select the “Media Manager” choice
    3. Match your Media Manager Settings with the below image:

    1. Click the “browse” button and find the drive prepared for your deliverables. Create a folder on the drive titled “(Insert Company or Online Editor’s name here)”. Select the folder and then click okay after checking your work.
    2. A box will appear asking for you to create a project file name. Name it the same thing you named the new folder you just created.
    3. Open up the new project, then the new sequence. Check your work; check the clips pathways to make sure they link to the new media destination you created.
    4. Watch the whole project once to make sure there are no mistakes.



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