*Warning* Server at critical level!

Ahhh, the age old problem of storing digital rushes on servers or hard drives is the bane of every production company and freelancer alike. Right now at the Centre for Digital Education (CEDE) at the EPFL we are starting to feel the pinch with our server space. We have known for a while now that our method of storing our rushes isn’t the most efficient. To help you understand our problem let me first explain briefly our setup here and how we work with our rushes.

Here at the EPFL we have three studios specifically designed for recording MOOCs. The concept behind these studies was to allow the professor, presenter or speaker to be as autonomous as possible. So we have a studio assistant set them up in the studio and do a short test recording to make sure everything is working properly, then after that they are on their own in the studio for their recording session. When they record we tell them to start the recording at the beginning of their session and just let the video record continuously, capturing mistakes pauses and all. Here lies the problem. At the end of their sessions we have three large video files (we record three video streams with audio simultaneously), often 25+ GB each, with lots of mistakes and pauses that we will never use within those files.

Our rushes policy up until now has been the classic “keep everything” approach. Obviously, this takes up loads of space on both our working server and archiving server. But we can’t afford to work this way anymore and now we have started to take action to fix the errors of our ways.

After many discussions in the office our studio technician, Gilles Raimond, found a lovely little program that seemed to be the answer to all our problems. ClipExporter.

The idea behind ClipExporter is to be able to quickly export clips from your Final Cut Pro X timeline.

You first make your rough cut.

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Export a .fcpxml file.

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Then the program will make copies of the each individual clips used in the timeline referencing your original rushes.

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So you end up with a folder full of short clips that you are going to use in your video.

The idea is that then you can take these clips and go into Aftereffects or Nuke to do further post production work. But what we do is then make a “light” version timeline of the same project and reconstruct the time using these clips.

Normal timeline

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Light timeline

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We can then delete the clips that are not used from our server and voila! From bloated, overweight rushes to space saving, efficient clips in no time at all.

We have been testing out ClipExporter for the past few weeks here at CEDE and we have been impressed with the results. We have had to change our editing workflow a little to incorporate the new software which now takes a little more time. And so far we have only been testing it on our more ‘simple’ editing projects where we don’t have a lot of video and audio layers or too many visual effects. But from the space saving results that we are seeing so far it is well worth this extra effort.

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Obviously, our case is a fairly extreme one in terms of the amount of space that we can save by using this software. But even if you save a small amount of space on each project pretty soon at all adds up.

We will add some updates further down the road to see how we are getting on with ClipExporter. But for now everyone in the office can sleep a little easier knowing that we aren’t going to have warning e-mails saying our servers are about to burst at the seams.

**Sigh of relief**