Connected Conform workflow question....... Probably one for Jeff!

I am finally getting my head around connected conform… with the valuable (and grateful) help on here and the tutorial videos that have been posted. Huge thanks to @Jeff and Grant Kay for their time spent producing the tutorials.

I have a scenario that I’d like your thoughts on.

I did a job recently where we had a master 30 edit with 16x9, 4x5, 1x1, and 4x5 versions. I connected conformed them from the camera rushes as normal, VFX was done in Flame and Nuke, the thing was Baselight graded and soforth. All good so far.

The client took our 30 sec master, and used that as a source to make the cutdown 20, 10, 6 and 5. each of these cutdowns also needed a 16x9, 4x5, 1x1, and 4x5 version. Because the client had used our master 30 export for the cutdowns, I used that for my source for the conforms… had to so the source timecodes matched their edls.

The client only supplied edls and offline references for the 16x9 versions, saying “just copy the framing for the socials formats from the master 30” socials.

My question is, what would be the best way to set this up so that all the 9x16 versions are connected sources… but different TL VFX to the 1x1s and the 4x5? And the 1x1 are also all conncted, so that if I changed the framing on shot 1 of the 1x1, it only changes in the 1x1 versions, not shot 1 of the 9x16 or 4x5

In this situaion, I mostly use the resize TL effect to do the panning and scanning on the socials aspect ratio versions, but because all the aspects came from the same source, whenever I tried to “sync resize to connected segments” it tried to sync it to all the other aspects as well. This was I think because all the cutdowns and all the aspects were all connected to the same source. That source beeing the 30sec master I re-imported.

Should I have imported the 30" master in 3 different times? Once for the 9x16, once for the 1x1 and once for 4x5 so Flame would have made 3 different “behind the scenes conections” and had a separate desktop for each aspect ratio?

Is there a better way? What would you do @Jeff ?

I ended up copying my resize TL VFX out to the VFX browswer thing (ctrl swipe right). Reformatting each cutdown conform to the aspect ratio I wanted, and then dragging the correct TL VFX out of the VFX browser on to the correct shot identified by the thumbnail! It worked, but it’s not very robust, and theres no segment connection made between the TL VFX, so if client changed the framing on one of the shots, I had to go through and copy the new TL VFX on to each instance of that shot!

Go gentle.

Hey,
The easiest way would be to create one additional reelgroup. There you will be disconnected from the main connections. Now for every framing, put every sequence needed into the reelgroup. Sync the TL FX from the 30s there and put all sequences back into your main group. The connections with your 16:9 master will be restored.

I typically keep every format in one reel, so only that needs to be dragged around the groups.

That seems to be the way to go, but also kind of a work around.

Might be a good feature request to apply syncs only in a reel, rather then in the whole group. But I don´t know if it is even possible or if the connections over all would be messed up.

Greeting from and to Hamburg :smile:

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There is no need to use an additionnal ReelGroup to break connections of a group of sequences. In the Timeline segments context menu, the “Duplicate Connected Segment” has the option “Replace On Current Segments” to simply break the connection from other sequences and the “Scope” can be put to “Current Reel” to break from the other reels of the ReelGroup.

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It would be fantastic if the sync-to-segments offered the same choices a s Duplicate Connected Segments, along with the coice of “selected segments” but it doesn’t . . . . .

I hate it when I need to use a conformed spot as a source. I would have duplicated all my footage and conformed all the spots by eye (it’s only 30 seconds) from the duplicated footage. Once I had the 16x9 cutdowns completed, I would copy the completed spots, resized them to the new aspect ratio, make another dupe of my footage and relink that to the resized versions, so that in the end all the 16x9’s shared a set of connected segments, all the 1x1’s had their own connected segments, etc.

The alternative, if you what to use the edls that your client sent using the conformed spot as source, is to apply cuts to the conformed string, then select all the segments in the spot, and apply a segment connection to each. This way you are maintaining the same footage, but it is broken up into many connected segments. Match that footage out without handles and use it to conform the other spots. You probably would want to do this for each aspect ratio.

Each method has it’s plusses and minuses. The drawback with the first ethod is that it can be more labor intensive, but you maintain the original size and aspect of the footage which is better for repos. The second method relies on the fact that the spots are lifts, and that you don’t need any parts of the picture that were cut off in the original version, but you can use the edls provided. Also, method 1 is less work to swap out a shot in the entire project than method 2.

But is it possible the unbreak the connection afterwards that same way as it works with reels? Sounds like you need to create a new source segment connection manually every time you want to have them restored.

For syncing different formats, they are unconnected with the 2nd reelgroup, but as soon as everything is merged into one again, the connections will also all be together again, without manually taking actions to do so.

With the swap to another Reel-Group for changing specific TL-effects Bernd mentioned you maintain the connections. Duplicate Connected Segments seems to cut it for good. When you have a scene with a TL BFX (retouching etc. in 4k or so) and an TL Action afterwards for reformating it in 16x9, 9x16, 4x5… (for your 20sec, 15sec,…), you can reposition shots in all different formats just fine by putting them in separate Reel Groups and then shifting the films back to your main Reel Group. You can still make changes to your BFX and sync it to all your formats. It just would be a bit cleaner, if you could do it in the existing Reel Group.

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Hello @MrGorsky! Apologies for missing this one. I have some insight into a very exciting expansion to the Connected Conform Workflow from my tutorials that I’ve been testing out that may be the answer you’re looking for.

Since I’ve started working with @Josh_Laurence, I’ve been incorporating some of his publish workflows into my commercial jobs, and in turn discovering ways to use the connected conform in a published shot environment. In some ways it’s a different way of working than I was used to, but the more I used it the more I felt as though this was the next step in the evolution of the way I work. Here are some insights.

Regarding your specific issues, for me personally, it’s uncommon that I will feel the need to have that kind of editability across my different social versions. Maybe I just haven’t been getting those kind of jobs recently, but for me it’s just been: “Make the socials. Okay they’re made? Good; approved, let’s ship.” BUT, if you know there’s going to be back and forth with adjustments, I can understand why you want to find a better way. You are also right to assume that Duplicate Connected Segment is a tempting solution that would split off connections between your different aspect ratios and solve one problem, but you are also right in that it would somewhat mess up your connections and make re-renders something you have to do in multiple places. This isn’t the end of the world if you set it up intentionally and carefully and know what you’re getting into. In years’ past I’ve used this workflow to split off a few shots into their respective alternative aspect ratio versions, and then they are just separate from that point onward. I’ll duplicate it in my sources sequence and if I ever need to update the comp, I’ll just know to replace it twice. Easy if you are careful, but admittedly also easy to mess up.

HOWEVER! Here’s another approach that I’ve been trying out lately that could be of interest to you:

The Joint Publish + Connected Conform Workflow. When publishing shots and having your timeline populated by published Openclips, you gain the ability to update your shots without the need for connections. Openclips are smart enough to know when they are used in multiple sequences, and versioning them up versions them up in any sequence they are used within your reel group. This allows you to reserve the “Connections” aspect of the connected conform for other purposes; most notably in this scenario here in this thread, for connecting sequences of different aspect ratios. IE: All of the 16x9 shots are connected, all of the 4x5 shots are connected, all of the 9x16 shots are connected, etc. BUT In versioning up or down, all of the shots in all of the sequences are updated.

The best part of this is that in doing a little test just now, I learned that with Openclips, when using the “Duplicate Connected Segment” workflow, it does not ‘mess up the connections’. You can put each of the aspect ratios in different reels and then Duplicate Connected Segment → Scope: Current Reel | Connection: Replace on Current Segments to connect all of one particular aspect ratio, and that will connect them but still allow you to version up and down via the Openclips. Once this is all set up, theoretically, when you need to adjust the framing of one of your shots, say, in the 9x16, you can adjust the framing and then sync that resize to Connected Segments, which would send that adjustment only to the 9x16’s. Of course you would still have the familiar connected conform hurdles of issues arising from a shot that’s used multiple times in the same sequence that needs a different resize, but I think there’s just no way around those kinds of special cases that would need to be fixed manually and carefully.

I’ll be the first to admit to you that based on what I said in my earlier paragraphs, I haven’t really needed to do this so this is relatively untested, but based on what I know about these workflows, I feel pretty good that this should work. Happy to answer questions about publishing or specific connection questions if they arise.

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I recently found this small video I made last year. It shows how I used the connected segments / duplicate connected segments. I used it on BFX in this example, but it works the same on media clips. It’s simple but it works!

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HOWEVER! Here’s another approach that I’ve been trying out lately that could be of interest to you:
The Joint Publish + Connected Conform Workflow. When publishing shots and having your timeline populated by published Openclips, you gain the ability to update your shots without the need for connections.

I look forward to more details on this – as my brain can’t seem to bring the two workflows together.

I have tried it this way:

1- Conform all versioned sequences.
2- Create Sources Sequence
3- Publish Sources Sequence
4- Unlink, then reconnect to published files in the conform tab.

I don’t see linking or a connection between clips. Specifically, any shared clips between sequences. One maybe longer than the other.

In connected conform, I would right click, jump to the longest, and work in the Batch Group. Then I replace the shot and it ripples across all shared versions.

I guess what’s hanging me up is – How do you connect to the Openclips? The way I’m doing it doesn’t seem to be working correctly.

When you pub the shot sequence, creating batch groups per shot during that pub, a new version on all sequences with connect shots for that shot sequence gets created containing links to open clips referencing the output of said batchgroups.

When you render one of those batchgroups and update the source version of that shot in ANY of the sequences which have a link to that openclip they all update.

This is bananas powerful. Also, since the open clips have access to all rendered versions on disk it’s way more powerful than a standard connected conform with smart replace as you can quickly cycle through rendered versions in edit context with out having to stack them on layers or replace manually with a different version.

Once it’s set up it’s hard to go back.

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The game changer for connected conform would be a transcode-less publish where the batchgroups would reference source material and offset, moving import options to batch—resize, color management and the like—such that the publish would be basically a completely “referenced” or “linked” approach not requiring a transcode of material.

In that way media duplication would be non existent and it would lower the bar for more people using this workflow in Flame only comp environments—largely because why export anything if it’s already on disk and if everyone referencing it can read the metadata.

Hey Nick!

Happy to answer any and all questions about this. It sounds like you have it all right but I’ll need to clarify one small detail- When you reconnect it to the published files, you have to be a little careful about which clips you’re reconnecting. When you publish you want to be sure to publish Openclips, and when you reconnect your media you want to be sure to reconnect to said Openclips.

Openclips, by their very nature, are connected. For all Openclips in a Reel Group, when you version up, that clip versions up everywhere it is used. The only thing you’d wanna double check is that you’ve Published it in a way that allows you to do this. Here are the publish settings that I use:

Under this setup, once you publish, you’d unlink the original Sources Sequence and relink it to the /METADATA/Output_Clips directory. Let me know if this helps or if it’s still not working for you.

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Excited to try this out! Thanks so much for the clarification.

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I feel another Logik Academy coming :wink:
I never worked with openclips, would be interesting,
because it would be helpful to be able to easily choose a version of a clip in the timeline(which I use with patternbrowsig when I receive external renders from Nuke, or grade versions from Baselight). But weird that this doesn’t work with internal batch renders and only with openclip managed media.

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OK! So this is making much more sense to me now. I don’t feel 100% smart about Openclip structures, but I really love the power they bring to a project. I’m going to practice a few more rounds.

I was able to relink to the files in the Openclip directory and saw my files repopulate with new links. I rendered different versions of shots in Batch, and was able to shift the versions like magic. This is such an organized approach compared to the old way of timeline Tetris / endless WIP sequences. Seems to help quite a bit with regards to working speed. Oh yeah, and the archive space reduction is massive.

First question – It looks like the relinked shots DON’T connect to the Batch Groups, but the DO recognize any versioning made inside of the Batch Group – Is that correct? I realize that sounds convoluted in retrospect, but the connection to Batch Groups are still kinda confusing me. In the connected conform workflow, I was able to select a shot > find batch group > boom I’m in batch. How do I get that working again?

Thanks again Jeff and cnoellert for revelations.

Heya Nick!

Glad this is helping. And Openclip structures are just like many things in this world - the more you use them the better you get. I’m fortunate to work with the Prince of Publishing himself, @Josh_Laurence so I got the fast track.

The conclusions you have come to are the same as mine and I’m glad you’re as excited as me about this.

Correct.

What you’re asking for is a little delicate and untested in my book. I don’t know how to do that, and I have already conceded and left that feature as a very nice distant memory. But here are some pieces to the puzzle that might point you or someone in the right direction; and if it’s a dead end, then we’ll know to drum up a feature request or raise awareness to an existing one.

The connection to Batch Groups have always been confusing to me, and that’s why I asked the devs about it once. If my brain is working correctly, and I’m remembering that one-off small conversation from a few years ago, the secret sauce of “Jump to Batch Group” lies in the conform tab’s “Create Batch Group” button (and maybe also the slightly newer right click create batch group button too, but that wasn’t out yet when this conversation took place). The important thing is Flame is creating it and you aren’t doing so manually. When you use that button to create batch groups, Flame knows the association between the clip and the batch group, which is what lets you jump to it in the timeline. When you use the Publish workflow, and then import the Openclips, that act of importing those Openclips messes with that association that can be created when Flame creates your batch groups. In the publish workflow, Flame is still creating the batch groups, which would make us think that they’re capable of creating that association that would allow this feature to work, but unfortunately, Flame doesn’t automatically use those Openclips in any timeline—they have to be manually brought back in.

Those are some ideas but happy to continue the conversation!

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Instead of creating a source sequence from the conform and publishing that, if you create a shot sequence instead, give every shot a number and publish that, you’ll get the destination openclips on a new video track which will have the references to published batch setups that you can manipulate directly from the timeline →

The unlinking and relinking step is what breaks the openclip-batch setup connection. I’m guessing that if you create that source sequence, then create new source segment connections on all clips in the source reel, then give all of the sources a shot number and publish all that, then you might be able to get a new version with the destination open clips appended to your publish. I just gave it a try and it works →

But honestly to what end? Better to make a shot sequence after conform and publishing the shot sequence after naming all of your shots. Or am I missing something? What’s gained in doing it as a source sequence?

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The setup/openclip connection actually lives in the batch write node →

The “create open clip” option makes a sidecar openclip to accompany the render defined above in the media path. The option under, “include setup,” does two things. First it packs a reference to the setup into the openclip created in the “Create open clip” path and second (and more importantly), it writes the batch file out that it’s rendering and referencing to the path indicated. By writing out a copy of both the metadata and the image data at render, AND LINKING them in the openclip, Flame keeps both in sync–a snapshot if you will.

In fact, after a render you can actually just throw away your desktop batch group of a shot if you want. It’s not what is referenced in the timeline. The setup referenced by the openclip and written out at render in the “include setup” option that contains the output pathing is actually what’s referenced in the timeline–NOT the batch group sitting on your desktop you set it all up with. It’s a small distinction, but one that catches a lot of people up.

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No, you’re probably right. I was following Jeff’s OG connected conform way of using source sequences to narrow down the longest versions of reused clips. So, if I have the same shot in a :30, :15 and :06, it all gets culled into one. Are shot sequences the same thing? Sorry, I’m kinda confused on how they work in this scenario.

Will try them out next and see how they work.

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