Using Adobe Media Encoder For Dailies & Screeners

Using Adobe Media Encoder For Dailies & Screeners

May 21, 2014

In this Insight, learn how to apply Looks/LUTs & burn-in metadata for dailies & screener workflows using Adobe Media Encoder.

Quickly Apply Looks/LUTs & Burn-In Metadata

While it’d be great to only have to worry about final finishing, and creating the most beautiful grades for shots, the truth is, for most of us we’re asked to complete an increasing amount of postproduction tasks.

Recently, we picked up a project where the production company asked us to produce screeners or dailies for them.

They were shooting on RED and Arri Alexa and the client simply wanted to be able to see their footage and some clip metadata data (note footage featured in the movie below is stock Arri Footage and not from my client!).

Additionally, they wanted to be able to see all of these clips on their iPads as they were still in the midst of shooting for the project and traveling a lot.

Here is the kicker – with the nature of production they didn’t have the ability to have an on-set colorist or DIT do this work while out in the field.

So after thinking about how to best handle the situation, we came up with an extremely simple approach to creating screeners and dailies.

A Streamlined Approach To Creating Dailies & Screeners

On-set colorists and DITs have an amazing plethora of tools to offload media, checksum it, apply grades or LUTs, add burn-in information, sync dual-system sound and then package it up for postproduction.

This combination of tools is powerful but sometimes you’ll need to accomplish a lot of these tasks quickly and it’d be great to do it a single tool.

I know what you’re thinking – well what about Resolve or even an editorial application like Premiere Pro?

Those are good options but I think there is an even more streamlined workflow that doesn’t involve a dedicated color grading app or an editorial app but uses a transcoding application.

My transcoding application of choice?  Adobe Media Encoder.

That’s right! The newest version of Media Encoder – which is available to Creative Cloud members – can accomplish many of the tasks of a dailies or screeners workflow including the ability to quickly apply a LUT (creative or technical), as well as add burn-in information like clip name, and timecode.

Of course, after you’ve done those tasks Media Encoder excels at transcoding to a wide variety of formats including image sequences, DNxHD, ProRes, and h.264.

What’s Missing?

I don’t want to make it seem like Adobe Media encoder is the perfect dailies or screeners tool – it’s not.

Yes, it’s true that it can accomplish many tasks that are needed in those workflows but it does have some shortcomings:

  • You can’t offload media with AME, and even if you could you can’t accomplish a critical task of moving media – checksumming.
  • While you can quickly apply a grade via a .look or other LUT there is no true grading – color balance controls curves or otherwise
  • AME doesn’t have the ability to sync dual-system sound which is often important in dailies or screener workflows.

However, these limitations can be overcome if you’re will to use other products in the Creative Cloud family.

Prelude will allow you offload and checksum media, Premiere Pro for syncing audio, and basic grading and of course Media Encoder for output.

That might seem like a lot of apps to use, but they all bring something to the table.

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