Creating the Cinema Tools Database

There are a number of issues to take into account when you create your database.

How the Database Works

The database can contain one record or thousands of records, depending on how you decide to use Cinema Tools. These records are matched to the edits made in Final Cut Pro so that the cut list can be created. To be valid in a film workflow, a record must have values for the camera, daily, or lab roll, as well as the edge code (key numbers or ink numbers). In addition, the record must either have a clip connected to it or have video reel and video timecode (In point and duration) values.

When you export the cut list after editing the video in Final Cut Pro, Cinema Tools looks at each edit and tries to find the appropriate record in its database to determine the corresponding key numbers or ink numbers (edge code). Cinema Tools first looks for a record connected to the media file used in the edit. If a record is found, Cinema Tools then locates the file, adds a note to the cut list, and moves on to the next edit.

If no record is found using an edit’s media file, or the file is not located, Cinema Tools looks at the video reel number to see if any of its records have the same number (“001” is not the same as “0001”). If so, it then looks to see if the edit’s In and Out points fall within the range of one of the records. If this condition is also met, the edit is added to the cut list, and Cinema Tools moves on to the next edit.

If a record cannot be found that uses an edit’s clip pathname or video reel number with suitable timecode entries, “<missing>” appears in the cut list and a note is added to the missing elements list. If a record is found but is incomplete (missing the key number, for example), “<missing>” is placed in those fields and a note is added to the missing elements list.

See An Introduction to Film Lists and Change Lists and How Cinema Tools Creates Film Lists for details about this process and the missing elements list.

A Detailed or Simple Database?

Cinema Tools is designed to allow you to create a record for an entire camera roll, for each take, or somewhere in between, depending on how you like to work. Each record can contain:

  • Scene, shot, and take numbers with descriptions

  • The film’s camera roll number, edge code, and related video timecode and reel number

  • The sound roll and timecode

  • A clip poster frame showing a representative frame from the clip

  • Basic settings such as film and timecode format

The records can be entered manually or imported from a telecine log. You can modify, delete, and add records to the database as required, even if it is based on the telecine log. You can also merge databases. For example, if you are working with dailies, you can create a new database for each session and merge them all together when the shoot is complete.

The telecine log from scene-and-take transfers, where only specified film takes are transferred to video, can provide the basic information for the database. You can add additional records, comments, and other information as needed.

The telecine log from camera-roll transfers typically provides information for a single record—the edge code and video timecode used at the start of the transfer. Assuming continuous film key numbers and video timecode throughout the transfer, that single record is sufficient for Cinema Tools to generate a cut list for that camera roll.

Importing Telecine Logs

You have a choice of importing the telecine log using Cinema Tools or Final Cut Pro. You can choose either method according to your workflow.

In both cases, you have the option of assigning a camera letter, which is appended to the take entries, to the import. This is useful in those cases where multiple cameras were used for each take. See Assigning Camera Letters for more information.

See Importing Database Information from a Telecine Log or ALE File for more information about importing telecine logs.

  • Importing telecine logs using Cinema Tools: To import a telecine log into Cinema Tools, you must first have a database open. The database can be an existing one that you want to add new records to, or it can be a new one with no records.

    Once the records have been imported, you can export a batch capture list from Cinema Tools that you can import into Final Cut Pro to automate the clip capture process.

  • Importing telecine logs using Final Cut Pro: When you import a telecine log using Final Cut Pro, you choose whether to import it into an existing Cinema Tools database or whether a new database should be created.

    As records are added to the selected Cinema Tools database, each record also creates an offline clip in the Final Cut Pro Browser so that clips can be batch captured. The film-related information from the telecine log is automatically added to each clip. You can show this information in a variety of ways while editing the clips in Final Cut Pro. See Displaying Film Information in Final Cut Pro for more information.

Manually Entering Database Records

The most common reason to manually enter a record into the database is that there is no log available from the film-to-video transfer process. Some film-to-video transfer methods, such as film chains, do not provide logs.

Each record in a database should represent a media file that has continuous timecode and key numbers. With scene-and-take transfers, each take requires its own record because film key numbers are skipped when jumping from take to take during the transfer.

With camera-roll transfers, because the film roll and video recorder run continuously from start to finish, you require only one record for the entire clip, even if you later break it into smaller clips (that retain the original timecode) and delete the unused portions. This is because Cinema Tools can use an edit’s video reel number and edit points to calculate the appropriate key numbers, as long as the video reel and edit point information is part of a record.

To manually enter database records, you need to know the key number and video timecode number for a frame of the clip. This is easiest when the transfer has these values burned in to the video.

See Creating a Cinema Tools Database for details about creating and managing Cinema Tools databases.