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DeCarlo

Workflow tips for long sequences?

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My 12-minute film was almost entirely one continuous time/space. I had one compressed moment (a series of 4 quick shots), and a 40-second montage of stills. Everything else took place in real time and never left the main character (he wasn't in every single shot, just there was never a cut-away to something going on elsewhere).

 

I started by blocking entire sections of the film in a single project file. I still see many benefits to doing it this way and using a Stage object to make the cuts between cameras, but I eventually abandoned this because any tiny change in timing became a huge burden. If, for example, I wanted to slow down an action in frames 100-120 by 10 frames, that meant I had to shift everything after frame 120, ten frames later in the timeline. This means that my shot from 730 - 850 was now occurring during frames 740-860. I'd have to update the render settings for that shot to reflect the new frame range. If I had already rendered that shot, I'd have to either leave the mismatch in the image sequence files, or rename the image files with the adjusted frame numbers).

Before long, I had pretty much abandoned this process.  Every single shot got saved as a separate project file. If I needed a match cut from one shot to the next, I'd keyframe everything at the last frame of shot one, re-save the scene file as shot two, then start animating the next action.  That allowed me to expand/compress shot 1 without impacting any of the other shots (as long as the final frame of one shot continued to match the first frame of the next shot).

 

Does anyone else have any other methods to manage long sequences?

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Yep, I tend to use your second approach for stuff unless it's a super short sequence (say 3 or 4 shots max).

 

The only thing I'd add to that is naming. If you don't have a naming and filing system in place you are going to have an absolute nightmare keeping track of everything later, or if you need to return to the project. Your file names need to version up obviously and your renders need to have a clear link to whatever file they came from (render tokens in 4D are great for helping with this, but unfortunately they don't work with the batch renderer).

 

Anyone who's ended up with the suffix 'final 3b' in any of their filenames has already learned this lesson the hard way... ;)

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  • 4 hours ago, frankm said:

    but unfortunately they don't work with the batch renderer

    I use render tokens in the render queue and everything works fine. You mean stuff like "$rs" to insert the name of the render setting, right?

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    Are you on a mac? I asked MAXON about it when I started having issues and they said it was a known problem and that they'd +1'd the bug report - but it may only be a Windows problem.

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  • @frankm  Nope, I'm on a PC.  I'm still on R17, so maybe something got messed up in a later version?  All of my renders use the same /$rs/$rs so that the image files are named after the type of content (foreground, background, sky, etc.), nestled into a folder of the same name. 

    Is there any chance that you are unable to type a token into the name field of the render queue, but if it is already set on the render setting, it works just fine? I've never touched the "output file" once I send something to the queue.

    queue.jpg

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    Ooh. Now that *is* interesting.

     

    And nope, it's all pre-set in my render before I stick it in the queue.

     

    Does your folder structure already exist? Perhaps the issue I have is in creating a new folder from the render queue (I output to image sequences, so I tend to create a new folder for each render).

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  • On 10/27/2017 at 1:19 PM, frankm said:

    Does your folder structure already exist? Perhaps the issue I have is in creating a new folder from the render queue (I output to image sequences, so I tend to create a new folder for each render).

    Nope.  I just confirmed that the queue will create the folder /$rs/ when I run a new job.  What happens when you use tokens in the queue?  Does it complain about the file path and reject the job?  Are you trying to save to a location other than your primary computer (like a network drive)? 

     

    I am running Windows 10, if maybe that has something to do with it.

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    Curiouser and curiouser...  ;)

     

    I'm getting this error - invalid output multi-pass path.  Doesn't seem to make any difference if it's not an exr or if it isn't multi-pass.

    Capture.thumb.JPG.4cd476ea034b09f70bcdf5f56c7894ce.JPG

     

    Just dug out the response I got from MAXON when I originally had the problem:
     

    ----

    If you take a look at this quick tutorial, it shows using Takes with the Render Queue, it notes that the tokens isn't yet supported in working with Render Queue, and I am sure you have tested this with your R19, this video is for R17.

     

    https://www.cineversity.com/vidplaytut/how_to_render_takes_with_the_picture_viewer_render_queue_and_team_render

     

    It looks like this has been reported already, in fact when tokens was introduced and is only an issue on Windows OS, latest update was the problem exists for both 18 & 19, so I have +1 the bug report to keep it on the radar, and hopefully we will see a fix for this soon, as the functionality is in place, but just not working for Windows OS at this time.
    -----

    So I guess maybe if you're on 17 the problem has vanished with an update for you, then reoccurred for 18 and 19? 

    Sorry for hijacking your thread as well, dude...  ;)

     

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  • 7 hours ago, frankm said:

    I'm getting this error - invalid output multi-pass path. 

    Aha, I have not attempted to do multi-pass through the queue!  I break scenes into layers and use takes, but I am just not doing that degree of compositing in my work right now.  

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    No, I thought it might have been that so I checked a normal single pass as well as a non EXR render and they both had problems too. I think it's something to do with the file path. If I remove the "." at the start of the file location then the error message goes away, but obviously when you try to render it kicks out an error message because it doesn't actually know where to put it...

     

    Anyway, getting back to your original topic - multi pass is a great time saver for long sequences! I've got a default multi pass setup saved in my new file, and it prevents me having to faff around splitting and organising every single shot into passes. Also, using EXRs really appeals to me because I don't have to fight my way through organising anywhere near as many files.

     

    I thought getting my head round that workflow would take ages (because I'm old now and, like Garth, fear change), but it took a couple of hours max to work it out and I definitely wouldn't go back.

     

    Give it a crack, you won't regret it. Promise ;)

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