The second tutorial in our ongoing series on Grass Valley EDIUS is on a new feature in EDIUS 6.0 called Proxy Mode editing. Proxy Mode allows you to edit with low-resolution proxy files, which make field editing is easier because they conserve your system resources. This allows you to work as efficiently with a laptop or other lower-powered computer as on the tower systems in your studio. It should speed up your workflow and allow you to edit in more places than you ever thought possible.
To begin the tutorial, there are a few things in the Settings menu I want to show you that will help you better understand Proxy Mode. Go to User Settings and select Background Jobs > Pause Background Jobs During Playback. You'll want to leave this selected because it tells EDIUS that when you hit the Playback bar and when you're working in your project and you need all your resources, you don't want it to create your proxy files then because you want all your resources available to get the best realtime playback possible.
With this setting selected, when you stop playback, EDIUS goes back to work creating your proxy files all in the background. The next setting to address is Proxy Mode. There are two options here. I recommend leaving both of these checked. One tells EDIUS that when there is no Proxy file, use the high-resolution file; this just means that before those proxy files are created you will still be able to edit your project in proxy mode, but you'll be using the original high-res files you imported into the project. But as the proxy files are created and they come online, they will be replacing the high-res files on your timeline and performance get progressively better and smoother as those files are created. Choosing this setting allows you to keep working while the process is going on.
The next option is Automatically Generate Proxy. That just tells EDIUS that if you have not created proxy files yet, when you request Proxy Mode, it should start creating those files in the background. By default, EDIUS does not create proxy files in the background until you request Proxy Mode.
Adding a Proxy Mode Button to Your Timeline
Another thing I want to show you is on the user interface. Begin by clicking to make sure my timeline is selected. Go down to the buttons that currently show up on your timeline and put your cursor right there so you can add a new button. Now, if you scroll down you'll find a button for Proxy Mode.
By adding that button and clicking Apply and OK, you'll find you have a Proxy Mode button right on your timeline. This means that instead of having to select Mode > Proxy Mode every time you want to enter and exit Proxy Mode, you can just click on this button and EDIUS will go back and forth really fast. It's a really big timesaver if you use Proxy Mode frequently.
Working in Proxy Mode
In the example in this tutorial (both in this text version and the video tutorial included here), I've got an 8-track multicam edit queued up and ready to go. At this point in the exercise it's in full-res mode. If you go to Mode and select Multicam Mode, or use the keyboard shortcut F8, EDIUS will switch to Multicam mode. We're going to learn about multicam mode in the next tutorial where I'll actually show you a 16-cam mulitcam mode; but for now, let's go back and work on the proxy mode.
Still in full-res mode, if I press Play in this 8-camera timeline, playback will move at about one frame every couple of seconds; this is going to be very cumbersome to edit and very unproductive.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, click on the Proxy Mode button you placed in the timeline and your tracks will all get the checkerboard pattern on them that you see in the figure below; this means they're now in low-res proxy mode. You'll probably also notice that the visual output of my display gets a lot blurrier because you're using a low-res file. If you see a track with hard lines through it, that just means the proxy file for that track has not yet been created. You may also notice a P at the bottom right portion of your timeline. This means, "EDIUS is creating a proxy file in the background right now." If you hover your cursor over this "P" a pop up will appear and show you the information about what's going on in the background.
If you go into your Bin, you'll notice that you also have the thumbnail for that clip and it's giving you a progress chart showing you how much has been done in the proxy file creation; it's another little way that EDIUS shows you what it's doing in the background and how close it is to completing it. Once your proxy file has been created down in the background, you should see the checkerboard pattern on all tracks indicating that you're in low-res Proxy Mode.
In the project I'm using in this example, if I select My Computer on my desktop and select the right folder, I'll see my 0162.mov proxy file; it's all of 54MB in filesize. The master file, by contrast, is more than 2GB. You can imagine with the much-smaller files that your realtime playback is going to work much better because the data stream coming down the pipeline into your processor is going to be much, much smaller.
Back in EDIUS, hit the Spacebar to play back your timeline. You should see a significant improvement. In my project, as shown in the video tutorial above, I've gone from a sluggish 1-2 frames per second to 8 cameras of multicam playing in realtime at their full frame rate, because I'm working in Proxy Mode with a dramatically reduced data stream that makes it much easier to handle within EDIUS. This is a huge benefit. Even large computers in your studio may not be able to handle that kind of data pass, so it can be very handy for that kind of editing.
Next, let's look at how to do in-the-field editing where you can check a project out. To begin, go to the File menu, and select Field Editing > Check Out. You'll see a Browse that lets you do is define where your data is going to go. I'm going to use my Laptop drive, select Create a New Folder, name it "Proxy," and click out of there. Now EDIUS will put all my information now in the Proxy folder.
Next, lower in the window, select Check Outsource Files. If you click here in this box, EDIUS will automatically generate proxy files for video when there are no proxy files; that means if you've not created any proxy files yet for this project or entered Proxy Mode, then when you check out the project, it's going to create all those files for you. If you had a large project with lots and lots of files, that could easily take a fair amount of time. If you've just got a small project, it's not going to take as long, but it still needs to create all new files. It's got a lot of work to do so it could take a little while.
I'll also note here that original high-res files are copied for stills, sources, and other things that are not video clips. Your stills, your titles, and so on are going to come along in full resolution for your Proxy Mode project.
If you select a High-Res option you can also export the entire high-resolution files into your project as well. Or you can check only the area used in the timeline; that means that only the parts that are on your timeline will be checked out in High-Res Mode.
You can also add a Trim margin. It defaults to two seconds; that gives you the possibility of adding a little wriggle room for trimming or for adding transitions and dissolves.
You'll also find an option to select your Check Out target; you can check out only what's in your current sequence. Or, if you have multiple sequences, you can select All, which means EDIUS is going to check out everything and all of your sequences and your bin.
In this example I'm going to check All because I want to check out everything that I need that I would use out in the field for a project.
Next, I'm going to deselect the High-Res checkbox because I want to work exclusively with proxy files. I'm just going to be out of the office for a couple of days so I don't need everything.
Now, I'm going to come down and click the OK button, answer Yes for my question, and let it do its thing. EDIUS exports the files to my portable drive.
Starting a Project
Now a Start Projects screen appears. Here, I could start a new project if I wanted to. Just to see how it worked, I'm actually going to open a project. I'm going to to select my Laptop drive, go to my Proxy folder, open up my Proxy Mode Tutorial. This is exactly where we left off before we checked it out; everything is in Proxy Mode. I can move my cursor back to the beginning. If I hit the Spacebar, I can to start selecting which camera I want to use. As you experiment with Proxy Mode, make some cuts so you can see how EDIUS works with the low-res files. When you've made some cuts and changes to your project you're ready to move forward.
With your changes made, save your project and close EDIUS. Next, open up the original project (mine is on my C: drive) and check this portable project back in. Click the Check In button.
Click the OK button, select Yes to continue, and EDIUS starts checking in my files. Below you see our test project. As you can see, all of those cuts and all of those selections from multicam that I made are right there on my timeline exactly as I left it on my portable drive from where I had checked it out for field editing.
Now all that's left for me to do is click on my Proxy Mode button. This takes me back to full-res mode where I could go in and I could export my project, author, or do whatever it is I need to do from this point.
Try it out sometime; you'll see that when you've got a processor-intensive project with lots of layers of video, it can speed up the workflow if your computer is not quite up to the task.
To view the Proxy Mode Video Tutorial along with others in EventDV.tv's "Six Steps to Stronger Edits" series as they go live, go to EventDV.tv's Grass Valley EDIUS channel on Vimeo.
Philip Hinkle (philip at frogmanproductions.com) runs Madison, Wis.-area video production company Frogman Productions. A 2008 EventDV 25 honoree and nationally recognized EDIUS instructor, he won a 2008 WEVA CEA Gold in the Social Event category and a 2006 4EVER Group AAA Diamond. He was a 2009 WEVA CEA judge and a featured speaker at WEVA Expo 2009. He is co-founder and vice-president of the Wisconsin Digital Media Group.