Create dailies masters for alternate cameras and offspeed footage to ease the assembly / conform process

Dailies are just the beginning of your post workflow that will ultimately include offline editorial, assembly of the original camera masters, and color correction before final delivery.

Depending on the system chosen to be used for Assembly and your requirements, there may be formats that are unnecessarily difficult to deal with at that stage in the workflow.

For instance, if your production is primarily shooting ARRI Alexa and recording ProRes, the online editor is likely to be relinking to those original files when she receives the offline sequence regardless of what system they are using.

There are other cases where it may be wise to create dailies masters, which we’ll address shortly.

But the best way to accomodate the workflow in these cases is often to create “dailies masters” that will be used during the assembly instead of the original camera masters.

Configuring a Deliverable for Dailies Masters

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Create a deliverable for your master format.
    • ProRes4444 is our go-to recommendation, but it could be something like DNxHD175x, or a lower bitrate or uncompressed format if those meet your requirements better.
    • Uncheck apply color in the deliverable configuration
      This will allow you to color-time your offline dailies, while simultaneoulsy creating an ungraded master of the original file for use in final color.

Creating Alternate Reels

  1. When you receive this footage, create an “alternate reel” for these clips.
    • On the alternate reel, choose the following settings:
      • Timecode: Continuous
      • Tapename in ALE: Reel Name
      • Start Timecode: 01:00:00:00
        Or, the hour corresponding to the reel #, eg reel 2 would start at 02:00:00:00
        This is just convention, does not really matter technically.
  2. You may want a different nomenclature for alternate reels to distinguish them from your other reels (in the screenshot below, ‘A’ stands for alternate)
  3. For the alternate reel, enable the dailies master deliverable (normally you will want it disabled)

Here are some of the cases in which you may want to create dailies masters:

  1. the file format is one that the editing system doesn’t support natively (eg ARRI RAW)
  • there is no timecode on the original format (some DSLR cameras)
  • the timecode of the original format is not the finishing framerate (30fps instead of 24fps)
  • a speedchange is done during dailies to make the take match the shooting framerate (eg, shot at 120fps)

CORTEX Dailies offers a few features to help remind you when you should create dailies masters if doing so is part of your workflow.

File Format Rules

First, you can enable warnings when formats do not match the list of what is acceptable in assembly. You should discuss this list with the online editorial team before choosing which ones to enable. Click ‘edit’ on your project in the Project Manager to access this setting:

In this example, we’re telling CORTEX to let us know when a clip is imported that is not ProRes or Wav audio.

When a clip is imported that does not match these formats, you see a warning icon in the clip list like this:

In the lower-right of the GUI, there is a warning message:

Timecode / Frame Rate Rules

When a clip with a frame rate that doesn’t match your project, you see a similar warning message:

These are just warnings to let you know that you may need to deal with this media a little differently. Or if its unexpected, that you may want to add a comment to the clip to let production know. (Sometimes the camera may have just be set to the wrong framerate).

When you create a reel, there is an option to ‘enforce consistency’. When enabled, CORTEX will not allow media that breaks the rules you’ve set to be put onto the reel.

You will get error messages when trying to add these clips to a reel like this:

Play Speed / Speed Change Rules

Finally, you may be asked to change the playspeed of a clip to match its shooting framerate. Below, we’ve added a 200% speed change by setting the playspeed to 48 fps:

When we try to add this clip to a source timecode reel with ‘enforce consistency’ checked, we get this message:

What to do when you get one of these warnings

To get past these warnings you have 2 options:

  1. Create a Continuous timecode reel
    If you’re intention is to create dailies masters for your workflow, this is what you’ll want to do. Again, see the top of this post for recommended settings.
  2. Uncheck ‘enforce consistency’
    If these files are not being used in an offline/online workflow, then perhaps you don’t need to be enforcing these rules.