What is File-based Insert Edit?

Cinedeck File-Based Insert Editing & Live-to-File: The Ultimate “Virtual Tape” Environment


Cinedeck’s File-Based Insert Editing & Live-to-File recording capabilities make for the ultimate “Virtual Tape” environment by bringing back two advantages, lost when video tape was removed from the production equation. Simply put, Cinedecks allow you to place or replace video or audio in pre-existing files and you can build a show in pieces, as would be done in assemble editing. All of this is done with flat compatible files.

Although nothing short of a miracle, electronic non-linear editing has a few significant limitations. If a change to a program is required, even just a simple shot change, it is necessary to go back to the timeline, make the changes and then, re-export the complete program. That export process can be excruciating, especially for long form programming. And then, the resulting file needs to be run through quality control again, which if nothing else, means someone watching the program from start to finish, wasting time, money and in some cases, preventing shows from being delivered on time.

File-based Insert Edit Cinedeck

As a work-around, some post-production facilities currently export edited shows to tape and use tape-based insert edits for changes. Those tapes can also provide a pathway to delivering file types not directly supported by their particular finishing systems. Another limitation is that many programs, especially daily, ‘current events’ broadcast productions are recorded live though not actually aired live. In theory, these recordings could be directly used however, in most cases some changes need to occur. This means an elaborate and inefficient non-linear import, edit and export process that is time consuming, especially when compared to delivering a tape directly after a recording is complete.

Cinedeck’s File-based Editing technology addresses all of these limitations and there are several editing modes designed for different requirements:

Insert Baseband mode

Insert Baseband mode allows the replacement of content in any selected region of a closed file. Regardless of where the files were created, inserts can be made into ProRes, DNxHD, AVC-Intra, JPEG 2000, XDCAM HD and Cinedeck VMM (Virtual Mastering Media) files. Edits can be video only, audio only or audio with video. Inserts can be done channel-to-channel on a Cinedeck or directly from an edit system. To make an insert edit, the user opens virtually any file on the Cinedeck, sets edit points along with the appropriate video and or audio tracks which need replacing and triggers insert recording to fill in the selected area with whatever is coming into the SDI input. The insert process can be driven from your non-linear editor or, channel-to-channel on the Cinedeck.

A typical scenario:

  1. Legal and the Producer come with a last minute video change
  2. On the timeline, an embargoed shot is replaced with licensed content
  3. When needed, effect(s) etc., are rendered “in-to-out”
  4. Instead of re-outputting the whole timeline, an insert edit of just the changed content is made directly into the previously recorded file.

This procedure results in a double time savings… The change process is much faster and if the file has already been run through a quality check, all that needs to be confirmed is the changed portion. The rest of the file has not been touched.

Cinedeck’s “Pause & Seek” mode

Cinedeck’s “Pause & Seek” mode is the closest to what many know from tape as assemble recording or assemble editing, with the unique addition that with Pause & Seek, multiple record channels can be simultaneously controlled. Two examples for this are building a show master while keeping a few ISO channels in sync with the master or creating multiple masters with different codec and wrapper combinations so for example, two ProRes masters, a DNxHD master and a AVC-Intra master.

Operation in this mode is straightforward:

  1. Put the channel(s) in gang record mode and start recording
  2. Pause the recording(s)
  3. Put the channels into gang play and cue one of the channels to a starting point in the recorded content
  4. Take the channel(s) out of pause to continue the recording(s)

After multiple pause and record events, stop is pressed to finally close the file(s) and recording is complete.

Digital Cut/Print to Tape Recording

Digital Cut/Print to Tape Recording creates new files using any codec and wrapper, directly from a non-linear editor, using the same procedure as recording to tape. The Cinedeck emulates a Sony SRW-5500 so the user sets things up on the editor as they normally would for a Digital Cut to tape while on the Cinedeck, the appropriate codec, wrapper and a file destination are selected.

The typical steps:

  1. Edit 1 hour show
  2. Complete all required renders, etc.
  3. Digital Cut to a file via Cinedeck using any codec.

This same functionality is available for editing platforms such as Adobe Premiere, Avid and Final Cut.

Total Confidence Recording

High end VTRs provide a layer of assurance with their confidence record mode, the ability to display an off-tape playback signal while recording. During insert recordings on a Cinedeck, Total Confidence Record allows you to shuttle, play and scrub, any portion of a file on any player while still recording, so you can check and double check, any part of a file, anytime, making the QC process much more efficient.

VMM – Virtual Mastering Media

VMM – Virtual Mastering Media like tape, are files, pre-striped or blacked with format, codec, timecode, audio tracks, etc. and are an extension of Insert Baseband mode. Creating VMM can be significantly faster than real-time but similar to tape, you can have a library of VMM on disk and simply copy one to your workspace, which lends even more efficiency and accuracy is enhanced because VMM also act as a preset for the file specification. With Virtual Mastering Media, Total Confidence Recording is available for entire programs while for “live-to-file” recording, inserts can be placed randomly and you can start and stop your work anytime so a production can be built over hours, days or weeks.

Audio & Pro Tools Support

Some of the new features, now part of Cinedeck’s virtual tape environment:

  • 32 channels of audio are supported in MOV and MXF files

SDI only carries 16 channels but using insert edit in a Digital Cut scenario or channel-to-channel, the user can record video with 16 audio tracks and then go back and insert up to an additional 16 channels of audio.

  • Pro Tools control is now supported in chase mode and standard 3-point edit mode

Instead of passing the audio files to a video editor for insertion, with Pro Tools control, audio tracks can be directly inserted into a file to accompany the video.

As a last clarification… Unlike the process of editing the metadata of an AS-11 file to point to content newly added into the package, when an insert is done using the Cinedeck Insert Edit, you are actually writing into and replacing parts of the original flat video and audio essence which means several things;

  • The process is not limited to AS-11 files. The Cinedeck system can make changes in many file types, ProRes, DNxHD, AVC-I, etc., and they can be wrapped as MOV, MXF OpAtom, Op1A or the more specific DPP Op1A.
  • Because changes are being written into the flat audio and video essence, file compatibility is maintained. The resulting file after the insert is the same file; it’s just that some audio or video frames have been replaced.

With all of these editing capabilities, (like on tape) when you get to the end you are done, there is no export, render, consolidate, etc… This is absolutely a game changing solution for the real problem of late fixes and the many programs that need to be produced “Live-to-File”.

(Download the complete paper)