The following best practices are intended as suggestions around maximizing image quality during finishing and reducing cost-prone errors during the Post process for projects utilizing archival/found footage. The following points are a general review of common best practices; the best choices for each project may vary.
If you have any questions, Netflix is here to help. Please reach out to your relevant Post lead at Netflix for any additional context.
Choose your aspect ratio in advance to ensure proper translation from offline to finishing
- To avoid confusion and ensure consistency between the offline and finishing stages of the workflow choose your finishing aspect in advance (e.g. 1.78:1).
- Apply framing/moves and creative intent in offline editorial within a canvas that matches your finishing aspect ratio (using matting if applicable) to ensure proper translation during the finishing stages.
- Align with your finishing facility on best practices here to ensure the framing and moves done in offline translate from your offline editorial tool to their finishing tool.
Ensure your decisions are non-destructive and proxies relink to original source files
- Editorial proxies should be created from the original source file in a way that allows you to relink to the source file that the proxy was generated from within the tool utilized by the finishing facility. This should be tested and validated with your finishing facility.
Frame rate conversion and scaling should happen during finishing.
- For finishing, keep and pass over all archival/found footage at or as close to its native raster/aspect, source frame rate, and source quality, as possible. Doing so will allow for flexibility to make clip-by-clip decisions on how to process or re-interpret the footage into the working frame rate (e.g. 23.976) and working raster (e.g. 3840x2160) of the project.
- There are many different tools and approaches to frame rate conversion and scaling. Using a single method of processing all footage in advance before passing to the finishing facility both limits creative flexibility in the finishing phases and complicates addressing QC notes/fixes by requiring you go back to the native source footage.
Align with downstream stakeholders early and often
- Particularly for projects with a high volume of archival/found footage (e.g. Documentary) you should align with your finishing facility on best practices for offline and proposed treatment of archival/found footage as early in the editorial process as possible.
- Whenever possible, it is important to test a sample set of the different types of footage, process it the way you intend to for offline editorial, apply creative intent (e.g. moves/framing), and send the footage all the way through the proposed pipeline to validate that there won’t be any issues in the interchange from offline to finishing and that the treatment of the archival/found footage best expresses the creative vision of the project once it goes through the finishing facility.
Pre-purchase temp archival vs. final purchased versions
- It should be anticipated that dependent on how the archival/found footage is acquired there is a potential that the pre-purchase version from the archival/found footage vendor will have a different frame rate, name, aspect ratio, and resolution than the final purchased version. Plan time to work through this and have conversations early and often with the stakeholder for considerations on best practices for finishing.
Examples of frame rate conversion methods:
- There is no one-size-fits-all for frame rate conversions. Often multiple tools will be used for converting different shots; sometimes even multiple tools for a single shot. They all leverage different variations or combinations of:
- Duplicate or remove frames
- Re-interpret - effectively speed up or slow down footage without affecting the frames
- Create new blended frames
- Wholly generate new frames
QC is a conversation:
- Ensuring the creative intent of content is the primary goal of our QC process. To maintain this we flag all technical issues with the content, but lean into a conversation-based approach to understand when and which issues are to be corrected.
- We flag all found issues which can be a significant number for archival and found footage.
- Because an issue is flagged, it does not necessarily mean we will require a correction or fix.
- We will always make it a point to cultivate the conversation and help Production move forward to next steps.
Common QC issues for shows with archival and found footage:
- Dead pixels
- Low quality video conversion and frame rate conversion issues
- Aliasing, interlacing, motion stutter, frame blending
- Video artifacting, banding, posterizing, macro blocking, dirt/dust, moire
- Mismatched frame edges on adjacent shots (e.g. mis-matched 4:3 Frame Edges on adjacent shots 4:3 shots)