Deciding How You Should Create the Database

The way you create the database depends on how you want to use it and whether or not you have a telecine log or Avid Log Exchange (ALE) file.

If you haven’t done so yet, take a look at Cinema Tools Workflows for general information. Use these examples to guide you in determining the basic steps you need to take to create your database and capture your clips. The steps you take, and the order of those steps, differ depending on a number of factors, most of which are summarized in the workflow examples.

Capturing Before You Create the Database

When using a traditional film workflow, it is possible to capture your source clips before creating your database, and to build the Cinema Tools database by importing a batch capture list created in Final Cut Pro. This approach is not as easy as building a database from a telecine log or ALE file because you then need to manually add the key number and film roll information to each database record. See Importing Database Information from a Batch Capture List for more information.

When using a digital intermediate workflow, you will need to capture, or more often transfer, your video files from their source media using the Final Cut Pro Log and Capture or Log and Transfer window. You can then create the Cinema Tools database by simply dragging the folder with the captured files to the Cinema Tools application icon.

If You Have a Telecine Log or ALE File

A telecine log, sometimes referred to as a FLEx file, is a file created by the telecine technician during a telecine transfer. You can also use an Avid Log Exchange (ALE) file as you would use a telecine log. The telecine log records the key numbers of the original camera negative and the timecode of the video transfer, and tracks the relationship between them.

Advantages of Using a Telecine Log or ALE File

Creating your database from a log is ideal because it provides these advantages:

  • Time savings: You can create database records from a telecine log. You don’t have to manually create and enter details in each record. You can then generate a batch capture list from the database, expediting the capture process.
  • Accuracy and completeness: Assuming the log you use is accurate, you’ll instantly have an accurate database and you won’t have to worry about your own potential data entry errors. Using the database batch capture list also ensures that the source media files you capture match your database information.
To build a database from an existing log
  1. Create a new, empty database.

    See Creating and Configuring a New Database for more information.

  2. Generate the database records from the log.

See Importing Database Information from a Telecine Log or ALE File for more information.

If You Do Not Have a Telecine Log or ALE File

Although it’s faster and more efficient to use a log, you can build a database without one. This is the most common approach with digital intermediate workflows.

To create a database without a log
  1. Create a new, empty database.

    See Creating and Configuring a New Database for more information.

  2. Enter database records manually.

See A Potential Database Shortcut for Camera-Roll Transfers and Entering Database Information Manually for more information.

Note: Alternatively, you could capture your source clips before creating your database and then build the Cinema Tools database by importing a batch capture list created in Final Cut Pro. See Importing Database Information from a Batch Capture List for more information.

Is Your Edge Code Number-to-Timecode Relationship Continuous or Noncontinuous?

The edge code number-to-timecode relationship in a camera roll is continuous if the camera roll was transferred to video without stopping.

The edge code number-to-timecode relationship is noncontinuous if:

  • You used a scene-and-take telecine transfer, where the video recording was stopped and restarted in between takes

  • The film roll was made up of takes that were spliced together before it was transferred to video

Note: Occasionally the edge code number-to-timecode relationship is broken if, during filming, the camera crew opened up a camera to check, clean, or change parts of the camera (often called checking the gate). When the camera is opened for such purposes, the film is typically unthreaded and then rethreaded. When the film is rethreaded, it may be on a different perforation number. This means that at the telecine, the telecine technician needs to stop, reframe, and make an edit, thus breaking the edge code number-to-timecode relationship in the camera roll. This should be evident in the telecine log.

A Potential Database Shortcut for Camera-Roll Transfers

If you used a camera-roll transfer and need to manually create your database, you may be able to save time by creating one database record per camera roll, depending on whether or not the edge code number-to-timecode relationship is continuous for each camera-roll transfer.

If the Edge Code Number-to-Timecode Relationship Is Continuous on Each Roll

You can create one database record per camera roll, and Cinema Tools can use the timecode-based method of locating database records in order to create film lists. In this case, each camera roll acts as one source clip.

As long as you create an accurate database record for the camera roll, Cinema Tools will be able to accurately create film lists. However, if you also connect the source clips to the database records, you are providing extra insurance that the match-back will go smoothly even if there is a timecode error. See Timecode-Based Workflow for a Camera-Roll Transfer and How Cinema Tools Creates Film Lists for more information.

Even if you have a continuous edge code number-to-timecode relationship, you may want to take the time to create database records for each source clip for your own organizational and tracking purposes. For example:

  • A database can be used to cross-check which take is on which sound roll and which lab roll contains a negative you need.

  • You may want to have records for each clip so that you can add notes about different clips.

  • Database records provide a poster frame of each clip for quick visual reference, and you can access and play the whole clip from the database.

If the Edge Code Number-to-Timecode Relationship Is Noncontinuous on Each Roll

You need to create separate database records for each clip and connect each clip to its record. Each database record must include the key number or ink number of the first frame of the associated source clip, so that Cinema Tools can adequately track the edge code number-to-timecode relationships throughout your sequence.

Additional Uses for the Database

Optionally, you may want to use the database for purposes beyond simply matching video back to film, and this can affect how you create databases:

  • Individual databases for dailies: If you have daily shoots that you want to process and track separately, you can create new individual databases for each daily session. If you do create individual databases for dailies, consider naming each database file by the date of the daily. Eventually, you can merge the databases into a master database by importing all the databases into one database.
  • Creating an audio Edit Decision List (EDL): If you plan to give an audio EDL to the audio post-production facility, make sure that the audio timecode, video timecode, and sound roll information is entered in each database record. Creating the database by importing a telecine log is the easiest and most efficient way to make sure that all the necessary information is entered in the database.