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TOPIC: Huge Project to edit in FCP X / How to optimal storage & Workflow

Huge Project to edit in FCP X / How to optimal storage & Workflow 26 Jul 2018 05:09 #96518

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Hello all,

I am seeking for an advice on the optimal storage/editing workflow for a Huge project. I will try my best to explain the situation in detail as well as keep it short.

Me and my partner are freelancing filmmakers. We are doing a couple of projects here and there (every second month) that ranges from music videos, wedding videos, small corporate videos, small web commercials for catering companies etc…

I am currently editing on MacBook Pro 15’ 2016.
My cameras for the shoots are Panasonic Lumix GH4 / GH5 / Sony A7S / DJI Phantom 3 Pro.
I am editing via 4TB External Desktop HDD’s - USB 3.0 (Western Digital / Seagate)



I have only recently changed to FCPX - previously I was still editing the old school way on FCP7 - thanks film school - and I now find the workflow in FCPX so much easier, quicker and optimised for a quick turnaround that I often need. No more transcoding to Apple Pro res LT, FCP 7 workflow > Export / Compress / Transcode etc… I really like FCPX and I think I am going to stick with it. So far I have not encountered any problems in terms of performance on my MacBook while editing 4K natively, only once for one music video I was using MultiCam and I had to create Proxy for those couple of takes, otherwise I had a smooth editing experience editing with Original Media.


// THE PROBLEM //
We have a big project that I categorise as ‘separate’ from all our other film work, just for the reason of being so big. We are documenting a huge house being built from scratch - a project that we started filming 4 years ago - for the clients to have a short film / documentary 30-60 minutes of all the process and problems the building has encountered on its way (crane arrived late/ statues on the roof / golden fence being imported from Europe / welding of materials for window edges etc). The frequency of visits and our shoots are in average 1 visit/shoot every 3 months. Occasionally we might come twice or three times in one week if a lot of things/changes are being done tho the house, other times we haven’t been called for over 7 months.

I estimate that this project is going to continue for another 3-5 years until the house is finished. So far we treat all the footage shot as cataloging the progress as it still looks like a construction site so can’t even start editing the final product yet.

For this project I have decided to keep this on a separate storage HDD’s. So far it sits on 2x Desktop 4TB/Western Digital HDD’s and 1x 4TB Western Digital small HDD’s - in three separate locations. I CAN NOT AFFORD to loose any data for this project.

So far we have shot around 1.5TB of footage. I estimate that with the house being finished it will go beyond the 4TB current capacity.

// MY QUESTION //

// Sorry I am not very knowledgeable in the whole RAID set up systems. I have tried to read about it and watch youtube explanation videos but still not quite 100% get the benefits of the set ups.


Q1) How do I go about storing this project for another 5 years in the most effective / efficient way?

Q2) Once the house is finished - how do I go about editing this? Should I edit from the external HDD and have another external HDD - possibly a Thunderbolt as a ‘Final Cut Pro X library’ just solely for this project? How do I back up after each editing session I do to the other two HDD’s?

I have done some researching about the HDD hub that will clone and copy to the other two HDD’s in real time, should this be something I invest in now, or do this later? (in 5 years the technology might jump ahead again and the prices for a SSD’s might be way cheaper or other solutions might open up?

Q3) Is online storage such as Google Drive a possibility with editing such a huge project in FCPX?


The reason I am posting this now is to try and figure out if I can do any step at the moment to help my workflow in the future and for long-term. Or should I just store store store the footage for now and decide in the future?

Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you have any questions to make this more clear please don’t hesitate to ask.

Kind regards

T

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Huge Project to edit in FCP X / How to optimal storage & Workflow 26 Jul 2018 11:24 #96527

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RAID arrays help with speed of data streams for editing. I work on a reality show that is now 7TB of media. It is on one Promise RAID, 8 drives, RAID 6 configuration. Performance is great. We have a Drobo systems for our nightly backup, done vie Carbon Copy Cloner, schedule for 2am every night.

It is one Library, we spent time very carefully mapping our media management before hand. We even paid for an hour or two of consultation with FCPWorks in pre-production, which has paid off immensely.

Be sure to power up your RAID and backup once month and run Disk Utility's First Aid on it to keep it healthy.
Run a backup every night you've worked on it.

We edited as we shot. For example, pouring the foundation, you have all of that, edit it now. Don't tackle the whole thing when the construction is finished. Do it in stages, as the construction happens.

Keep it all onside the Library. If you're not collaborating with someone else, there's no need for external media.

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Huge Project to edit in FCP X / How to optimal storage & Workflow 26 Jul 2018 13:14 #96530

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tomasawyer wrote: ....I am currently editing on MacBook Pro 15’ 2016.
My cameras for the shoots are Panasonic Lumix GH4 / GH5 / Sony A7S / DJI Phantom 3 Pro.
I am editing via 4TB External Desktop HDD’s - USB 3.0 (Western Digital / Seagate)...


I have that MBP and my documentary team uses those cameras plus the DVX200 and several Sony A7R3s. I've edited in the field on the MBP connected to various rotational drives, but it's not super fast for 4k H264. I do most editing on a top-spec 2017 iMac 27 and 10-core iMac Pro, both connected to various Thunderbolt arrays.

The GH5 has several codecs and bit rates, in general I recommend testing these and maybe not using the 400 mbps 10-bit ones unless you really need that. It chews up lots of disk space and the last time I checked, Quicktime would not play it unless it was transcoded. High shooting ratio productions are not like a short commercial. You must pragmatically trade off bit rate and bit depth vs data volume, backup volume and post production complexity. We only shoot 100 mbps 4k 8-bit 4:2:0 H264 for this reason. For 1080p distribution 4k 8-bit can be transcoded to 1080p 10-bit 4:4:4. See Panasonic Tech Brief "The Benefits of Shooting in 4k" by Barry Green: ftp://ftp.panasonic.com/provideo/agdvx20...nefits_techbrief.pdf

tomasawyer wrote: ... So far I have not encountered any problems in terms of performance on my MacBook while editing 4K natively, only once for one music video I was using MultiCam and I had to create Proxy for those couple of takes, otherwise I had a smooth editing experience editing with Original Media...


This depends on your personal requirements, exact codec, and expectations for editing smoothness. I usually transcode all our 4k H264 material to proxy before editing (and that includes keywording and rating the material in the Event Browser). My 2016 top-spec MBP is not fast enough (for me) without that, and even my top-spec 2017 iMac 27 and 10-core Vega 64 iMac Pro aren't fast enough to really blitz through lots of 4k H264 material without proxies.

tomasawyer wrote: .... We are documenting a huge house being built from scratch...a short film / documentary 30-60 minutes of all the process and problems the building has encountered...The frequency of visits and our shoots are in average 1 visit/shoot every 3 months...I estimate that this project is going to continue for another 3-5 years until the house is finished. So far we treat all the footage shot as cataloging the progress as it still looks like a construction site so can’t even start editing the final product yet....For this project I have decided to keep this on a separate storage HDD’s. So far it sits on 2x Desktop 4TB/Western Digital HDD’s and 1x 4TB Western Digital small HDD’s - in three separate locations. I CAN NOT AFFORD to loose any data for this project...So far we have shot around 1.5TB of footage. I estimate that with the house being finished it will go beyond the 4TB current capacity...


I just finished a documentary that was about 12 TB (roughly 220 hr) of 4k H264 material, proxies were 8TB so total storage was 20TB. I used dual 32 TB OWC Thunderbay 4 units in RAID-0 (one primary and one backup) and the library was backed up via Time Machine and separately via Carbon Copy. The media was also stored separately off site on various drives.

You will usually need more drive space than you first estimate, especially considering proxies, scratch files, render files, etc. Also rotating drives need at least 30% empty space to perform well, so you can't use 100% of the space. The bottom line is you need careful, methodical data stewardship, redundancy and off site storage.

tomasawyer wrote: ...Once the house is finished - how do I go about editing this? Should I edit from the external HDD and have another external HDD - possibly a Thunderbolt as a ‘Final Cut Pro X library’ just solely for this project? How do I back up after each editing session I do to the other two HDD’s?...


"Editing" in FCPX is different from other NLEs. For efficient post production, it's important to fully leverage the database-like organizing features. IOW you spend lots of time in the Event Browser keywording, rating, etc. material before you even approach a timeline. Before you organize it you must devise a plan. There is no one fixed method. If you can roughly visualize the vague outlines of the final product that can help determine how the editor will access the material. Don't over-organize content and over-use keywords and events which the final editor won't use.

However most doc editors will constantly be looking for b-roll to match interview dialog. During production as you shoot interviews, try to get supporting b-roll immediately afterward and upon ingest to FCPX, keyword that.

Another major procedural difference between FCPX and other NLEs regards *where* you organize the content. Traditionally this is done in folders or bins and editors (or their assistants) scour the content and only ingest the "good stuff" because they don't want "all that junk cluttering up my project". With FCPX it may be best to just import everything using "leave files in place" and do all the culling, favoriting, rejecting, etc inside FCPX. No external tool is faster than the FCPX skimmer at browsing and tagging content. In general, do NOT create optimized media -- this takes lots of space and time, plus is usually not required.

After the organizing phase, it's possible to copy the selected material to a "working" library, leaving behind the unwanted content. There are pros and cons to this. For a detailed discussion, see this thread: www.fcp.co/forum/4-final-cut-pro-x-fcpx/...media-from-a-project

A clip can only be in a single folder unless it is duplicated. But with FCPX you can mark multiple ranges within a single clip for different things: happy workers, brick laying, arguments, etc.

During production it's vital that you ensure the time of day clocks on all camera and recorders are accurately set. Also keep track of what data cards came from what camera, especially for multi-cam shoots. FCPX requires the camera name or angle be tagged within FCPX, else it won't sync via audio.

Many cameras such as the Panasonic GH4, GH5, GH85, G7, etc. also the Sony A6300, A6500, A7R2, A7R3, etc. often use the same codec. If the Panasonic or Sony cameras are all set to the 100 mbps 4k H264 codec, you cannot tell which Panasonic or which Sony camera it came from. There is nothing in the video header to determine this. Therefore when offloading, it's best to put the content from each camera in a named folder such as "JimGH5", "KevinA6500", etc. Then when importing to FCPX use the option "keywords from folders". Each batch of clips from each camera will then be keyworded with the operator and camera name, which will be later needed for assigning the camera name in the Inspector. For details see: www.fcp.co/fcp-forum/4-final-cut-pro-x-f...-multicam-edit#96178

Many cameras (especially Sony A-series) do not allow user-customizable video file names. Also the file names reset to C0001 each time you change a card. This creates lots of duplicate filenames which later can be a problem in post production. I strongly suggest all filenames from all cameras be renamed for global uniqueness as part of the data offload sequence. Finder can do simple renames, but to append an incrementing user-defined serial number to each batch of camera files, we use the tool "A Better Finder Rename": www.publicspace.net/ABetterFinderRename/

tomasawyer wrote: ...I have done some researching about the HDD hub that will clone and copy to the other two HDD’s in real time, should this be something I invest in now, or do this later?...


You need to immediately duplicate any offloaded data, and ideally handle them separately. IOW don't offload to a HDD, copy it to a 2nd HDD, then keep both in the same bag -- it could be dropped, lost, stolen, etc. There are offloading apps such as Hedge and ShotPut Pro. These do some things for you, but you'd have to investigate if it's worthwhile. I have ShotPut Pro but it was complex to use and threw some spurious errors in testing, so currently our Data Wrangler just offloads manually. I will examine Hedge whenever I have time.

hedge.video
www.imagineproducts.com/index.php?main_p..._info&products_id=59

tomasawyer wrote: .... Is online storage such as Google Drive a possibility with editing such a huge project in FCPX?...


Some ISPs have a monthly data cap plus unless you have fiber, the upload rate is quite slow. It's OK for smaller stuff but if you don't have a really "fat" upload pipe you can quickly outstrip your ISP's ability to handle high-volume content.

tomasawyer wrote: .....should I just store store store the footage for now and decide in the future?...


If you have the time and personnel, IMO it's best to ingest it to FCPX and start evaluating organizational schemes. Also if you don't do some "dailies" you won't catch problems. These could be either technical, procedural or artistic.

Well-planned time lapse sequences can help a longer-term construction-type product. A simple fixed time-lapse is easy, but increasingly viewers expect a motion-contol time-lapse. There are many methods for this ranging from a simple rotational Syrp Genie to a multi-axis head on a slider or cable cam: syrp.co.nz

Also consider use of work place "action cams". They can be placed on worker's hard hats, the boom of construction cranes, within the crane cockpit, etc. If properly planned, this material can be edited together in a compelling way.

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Huge Project to edit in FCP X / How to optimal storage & Workflow 15 Aug 2018 10:04 #96809

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Thank you so much for such a detailed response.

1) With all your specification description - I agree and my workflow so far has been just like that - keep original media in place and only transcode 4K if I really need to - in terms of playback performance - but so far I only had to do it for one project, apart from that even if it ocasionally slows down, as long as I know that's the shot and selection I want to use I'll leave it. For this large project I will go proxy for 4K.

2) In regards to your dual 32 TB OWC Thunderbay 4 units in RAID-0 - is this something that I should be looking into now, or in the future when I attempt to tackle this project?

3) In regards to editing now: someone also told me: "Don't think about this yet. Who knows what changes might occur in editing software in the next 3-5 years. Google or Apple might have exceptional cloud based AI software which could do 90% of the work for you in a fraction of the time. FCPX might change significantly, or you might be using a different editing program and starting from scratch."

I agree with this statement as well as I am still learning to be more and more proficient in FCPX. I do review the 'dailies' upon arriving home - but with the nature of this project being so unpredictable and spontaneous - we don't know what the next 2-5 years hold for us - for example - there might be a 'grand gala opening ceremony' when the house is finished and that would give me an idea on how to tackle and edit this project - maybe for the sake of this example I would start with that - as a short introduction of what is going to come as an end product, with dramatic music, but WAIT... the journey to get here wasn not that easy - flashback / flashforward to some arguments, drama, destruction, etc... and then start from the beginning with a voiceover.

Maybe the gala opening is not going to happen - then I would approach it a little differently - so I don't want to waste my time on editing bits and pieces here and there when I don't know where they are going yet - that's just my creative process I guess, but if it needs to be done I will do it.

Also - the nature of this project is very .... laid back. We arrive and sort of 'document' what is going on, but because of the scale of things that happen, we can't demand or attempt to interview the workers or the construction manager on the day for example - nor they have time for us on other days. With much notice we can attempt to orchestrate interviews with questions that would be prepared so they know what they will be answering and we can go on and start from the very beginning and I can be trying to recollect all the dramas that happened - e.g. - crane arrived 3 hours late, statue fell, water dripping, wind damage etc.... - and on top they might share light on stuff that happened when we were not there as well, but these things I reckon come later, if not last, because they will be the finding foundation of the dramatic storytelling onto which we will be trying to insert the 'b roll' footage that we are currently documenting.

I know this might sound strange but that's the nature of this project. Everybody else is there paid for their job and they don't want or are really uncomfortable going in front of camera for 'the owner' to then see later on. I hope this makes sense.

Last but not least : Would it be beneficial to have something like this and every time I do some backing up it would automatically back up to the other ones connected?

ORICO 6648US3 4 Bay USB3.0 External Hard Drive Dock with 1 to 3 Clone Function

This also might relate to my other work hard drives – for example – when I want to edit a wedding video and at the end of the day or the project, I want to 'update' the other two HDDs with what I have done, wouldn't this be easier than copying one by one?

Kind regards

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Last edit: by tomasawyer. Reason: typo

Huge Project to edit in FCP X / How to optimal storage & Workflow 15 Aug 2018 12:37 #96810

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tomasawyer wrote: ... In regards to your dual 32 TB OWC Thunderbay 4 units in RAID-0 - is this something that I should be looking into now, or in the future when I attempt to tackle this project?...


Don't buy more disk capacity earlier than you need it. OTOH you want plenty for current needs. Those current needs will vary based on your editing approach. With FCPX a lot of "editing" is the skimming, rating, rejecting, favoriting, keywording, etc. To do that smoothly on 4k H264 may require proxies which in turn may require more or faster disks.

tomasawyer wrote: ... In regards to editing now: someone also told me: "Don't think about this yet. Who knows what changes might occur in editing software in the next 3-5 years. Google or Apple might have exceptional cloud based AI software which could do 90% of the work for you in a fraction of the time. FCPX might change significantly, or you might be using a different editing program and starting from scratch."


In documentary production this is handled various ways. Sometimes the material is simply piled up and (except for dailies) is edited later. Other times for long-duration projects it is edited as shooting continues.

The problem is you have to use *something* to view the material. The old approach was do this outside the editor, don't import "all that junk" and clutter up the library. If any dailies were needed, you'd identify those outside the NLE, then import just those, then find (again) the same clip offsets within the NLE you just found outside, then put those in a timeline and export. There is some redundancy there, plus when final editing happens the dailies are often considered. I have spent endless hours matching frames on rendered daily clips which are now needed for the final product. The best approach is do all that work within FCPX, make sure the interim libraries are saved and named logically, and filenames are consistent (see below). That way any prior work can be directly used in the final product.

tomasawyer wrote: ... there might be a 'grand gala opening ceremony' when the house is finished and that would give me an idea on how to tackle and edit this project...a short introduction of what is going to come as an end product, with dramatic music, but WAIT...


This often happens with longer documentaries. Unpredictable requests arise for "trailer" versions, demo versions for patrons and backers, etc. If the material is already imported into FCPX and you've been marking favorites and rejects as you go, it's a lot quicker to pull together.

tomasawyer wrote: ... we can't demand or attempt to interview the workers or the construction manager on the day for example - nor they have time for us on other days....I can be trying to recollect all the dramas that happened - e.g. - crane arrived 3 hours late, statue fell, water dripping, wind damage etc....


I have shot documentaries on many construction sites and this is common. Doing brief interviews on their lunch break can work. Also putting action cams (GoPros, etc) on their hard hats or safety vests can produce useful "first person" material. A good technique is put one inside the cab of the crane, put one on the crane boom, then shoot coordinated ground-based multicam while those are running.

Interviews need not be long or formal. One approach is quickly clip a bluetooth lipstick mic on the subject, the interviewer stands close and asks a few question while the camera operator shoots over the interviewer's shoulder with a longer lens, say 200 mm (35mm equiv). This gets the camera out of the subject's face, keeps it short, and avoids placing a bodypack lav on the subject.

It's important to immediately evaluate any interview dialog then shoot supporting b-roll. One of the hardest parts in documentary post production is matching b-roll to interview dialog. This problem is lessened by immediately shooting that after the interview, or making a shot list based on what they say and getting that in following days.

tomasawyer wrote: ... Would it be beneficial to have something like this and every time I do some backing up it would automatically back up to the other ones connected? (ORICO 6648US3 4 Bay USB3.0 External Hard Drive Dock with 1 to 3 Clone Function)...This also might relate to my other work hard drives – for example – when I want to edit a wedding video and at the end of the day or the project, I want to 'update' the other two HDDs with what I have done, wouldn't this be easier than copying one by one?


That looks interesting, the problem is you'd be trusting it with your all-important data. I wouldn't use it without extensive, rigorous testing.

We offload all cameras -- on site -- once or twice per day, immediately duplicate it using Finder, then verify it with Beyond Compare: www.scootersoftware.com

There are other ways, e.g, ShotPut Pro 6 will automatically make duplicate checksummed copies. However this is a sophisticated product itself. I tested it, found some anomalies during multiple concurrent offloads, and didn't have time to debug that. www.imagineproducts.com/index.php?main_p..._info&products_id=59

My goal is evaluate and test Hedge before our next field assignment: hedge.video

I suggest you set the Panasonic cameras to not create segmented files but one long file per take. This will make post production easier. Likewise any external audio recorders which can be configured to not segment files, do so. Some Tascam recorders do this unless otherwise configured. At the start of each shooting day, be certain all cameras and recorders are set to the correct time of day, including daylight savings and time zone. Having the right date/time on the files greatly expedites organization, esp. for multicam.

The Sony Alpha series makes a single file per take but unfortunately the filenames repeat starting at C0001 after each new card. This makes management more difficult. I suggest all files from all cameras be renamed *before* import, appending a unique incrementing serial number. Each new batch of offloaded files uses the next sequential serial number after the previous batch. This must be done immediately, before any file is used for dailies or anything else. Otherwise you end up with two different filenames for the same clip. We use "A Better Finder Rename" for this: www.publicspace.net/ABetterFinderRename/

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Huge Project to edit in FCP X / How to optimal storage & Workflow 15 Aug 2018 14:09 #96814

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Again, thanks for a great reply.


Firstly before I devour into little bit more details about the priduction itself - so to finalise it, you reckon that currently for now the method of storing all of this on three separate external HDD's is OK at the moment and if anything changes technology-storage-wise in teh next 2-4 years we might adapt with the flow.

Once let's say in 4 years the project is finished and I know i will now be editing it, I can proceed with looking at optimising the editing workflow with some other RAID possible set up?


----



It is tricky with this particular project. I know that it might come across as me making excuses, but the reality is that sometimes we might get called prom the project manager the night before and been told that a crane is coming at 6am putting statues etc on the roof. It's a sort of 'one take wonder' because the crane company arrives from different city already with the picked statues and arrives at the location and puts them up and leaves. They are (everyone on site) is on very very strict schedule.

Between me waiting appx 1 kilometre away (the house is on private island with many resorts) with my Phantom drone to capture a 'one off' take of the crane crossing the bridge while the sun rises and me packing down and arriving to the location, and my partner shooting the arrival etc... we also have to adhere to safety precautions on the site and sort of - can't - just put a GoPro inside the crane. There is a possibility of putting it on the end but what i am trying to say - it's sort of like we are invisible - or not important in the scope of the building of the property - nobody wants to be 'wasting our time' with us, worrying if we are going to climb the scaffolding all the way up to grab some footage, supervise us etc. I will try my best for the future to try and spice the production up with your recommendations, but at the same time I am trying to be resourceful and do the best with what I am given if that makes sense.

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Huge Project to edit in FCP X / How to optimal storage & Workflow 15 Aug 2018 15:00 #96816

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tomasawyer wrote: ... you reckon that currently for now the method of storing all of this on three separate external HDD's is OK at the moment and if anything changes technology-storage-wise in teh next 2-4 years we might adapt with the flow...Once let's say in 4 years the project is finished and I know i will now be editing it, I can proceed with looking at optimising the editing workflow with some other RAID possible set up?....


The main thing is ensure the material is backed up and there's no single point of failure. E.g, drives should not be stored in the same place, nor carried in the same bag or same vehicle. For something like this I'd want triple redundancy at a minimum. Use HFS+ formatted drives not exFAT.

For a long-duration production it's important to capture metadata, whether that's written notes, ensuring all cameras are *always* set to the correct date/time, etc.

Additional shot notes captured the day of shooting or shortly thereafter will be useful later one. This could be written, in notes or spreadsheet on a laptop or iPad.

Ideally to avoid re-entering notes and re-formatting them, enter it in a format compatible with the NLE. E.g, certain formats can be imported to FCPX using Shot Notes X: itunes.apple.com/us/app/shot-notes-x/id853468135?mt=12

Or you can use on-set notes entered in LumberJack which can be directly imported to FCPX: lumberjacksystem.com

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Huge Project to edit in FCP X / How to optimal storage & Workflow 16 Aug 2018 05:04 #96823

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… aside all that ‘don’t lose a byte’ … (learned a lot from this thread!)

Hundreds of hours of raw material, a decade in the making … my biggest concern wouldn’t be the ‘bits’ but the content! … I’m a bit puzzled, piling megatons of material without any pre-structure, content wise?

Imagine, your partner says bye-bye midway … how much knowledge about the content gets lost? Or a new partner joins the team? …

Aside all that data-wrangling I would spent lots of time&grey matter on content-organisation, structure, documentation of the documentation ;)

… way beyond key-wording and rejected ranges … my 5¢.

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