Back in February 2017 we asked if you worked in post production and find that you have to re-conform your audio edit and mix because of picture changes would you help our friends at The Cargo Cult in completing a short survey.
What Was The Survey For?
The Cargo Cult believe that Pro Tools needs better reconform options, but they tell us that there's not much more they can do until they have some integration with Pro Tools. Right now Conformalizer relies on sending simulated keyboard events to Pro Tools in order to make the recut. It’s crude, slow, flaky, and easily broken. The Cargo Cult are trying to collate some evidence to take to Avid and so they are asking for “victim statements” from the audio post-production community.
What Is Reconforming?
For the uninitiated: Reconforming is the act of re-syncing sound data to match the edited picture. The differences between the old picture cut and the new must first be identified, and then those same changes made to the sound materials. In modern workflows, the picture and sound teams work in parallel, right up to the delivery date, relying on the reconform process to keep everyone on the same page.
The Results Are In - The Highlights
There are also some interesting generalisations we can make:
On average, 72% of all projects require a reconform at some stage. However, The Cargo Cult believe that this is actually a very low estimate, perhaps skewed by advertising and short form web projects, that are less likely to need a reconform. The worst affected half of the industry find that 92% of their projects are being recut after sound started.
Time on recuts: On average, across all parts of the industry, people are spending 33% of their time dealing with reconforms. Those who get at least one recut per day (18% of us) are spending nearly 50% of their time dealing with recuts! So a fifth of the sound-post industry spends half their time chasing changes (likely the big budget shows), and those people handling daily reconforms are having to deal with an average of 4.5 separate sessions, totalling 768 tracks, for each and every recut reel!
30% of people spend a full day or more dealing with each recut. And of those, 74% are getting at least one of these recuts every week.
The Cargo Cult were astonished that 20% of people say that the busiest time for recuts is during the mix!
Moving onto EDLs vs Change-notes, the results probably won't be surprising to those of us regularly having to handle reconforms...
- 18% say they can usually get good change notes.
- 39% say it “never happens”
EDLs are much easier to get apparently, with 46% saying they can usually get good ones. 11% still struggle to get any EDLs at all.
22% of respondents still recut by hand. The most common reasons are:
- 3P apps are unreliable and make a mess of the session.
- Quicker by hand for small changes
- 3P apps follow picture changes only, breaking pre-laps, fades etc.
- Can’t get decent EDL, Change-notes
70% of projects use Media Composer. This might explain some of the intense frustration users are showing. That their sound and picture are being handled by the same software company ought to be an advantage. ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
Comments From Individuals
Here are a sample of the comments from the "Is there anything else you'd like to share?" section of the survey...
"Reconform is the most important area for improvement in Pro Tools right now.”
"10 years ago, a reconform was a possibility. Nowadays, it's a norm, it always happens, but it's still a pain in the ass"
"If Pro Tools relies 100% on 3rd party developers to help us conform, then Avid should accommodate them. I work exclusively on Disney movies and spend HALF my time conforming. Does it really need to be this painful? It's just simple math and tweaks... why does this suck so much?”
"There is no such thing as "locked" picture these days. With dwindling budgets and crushing deadlines, the time wasted conforming or manually conforming could be used in getting the project done."
Want To Learn More?
You can download the complete Survey Results document from The Cargo Cult.