One of the misconceptions I hear all the time is that Tubifi is a replacement for desktop video editors. It’s not our intention to replace or even compete with Final Cut Pro, Premiere, After Effects, or Avid Media Composer; we don’t even want to compete with iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. Tubifi is an adjunct to those products that adds 4 key features they don’t have and one that’s a little different than what they have:
- An easy way to collaborate with video professionals globally
- Federated (unified) search of multiple stock vendors for rights-cleared footage
- Integrated video editor enabling seamless searching, viewing, purchase and editing of stock based footage (This is the one that’s different.)
- A global network of video professionals available to help you and collaborate with you on your project using (1)
- An easy way to present videos to your customers to get feedback and approval
The Tubifi platform facilitates the 4 new features by integrating them with the online video editor and cloud storage system, giving you a very simple video workflow while you’re within the platform.
A key point to understand is that you never know what clips are going to work together in a video until you try them. The integrated stock search and online editor make trying out video and audio, in context, quick and easy. The facts that you can search multiple stock vendors at once, that the clips stream in the cloud, that you don’t have to download anything to your desktop, that you don’t have to buy anything until you get approval, and that high-res clips are automatically conformed to the proxies when you buy them, are all huge time-savers.
We haven’t built every possible feature into the online video editor: we’ve just built in the 20% of features that are used 80-90% of the time for short videos and video advertising. Integration with your desktop editor takes care of the little-used features when you actually need them.
Given that this is an integration story and not a “rip and replace” story, the next questions to answer are when, how, and why to integrate.
Suppose I had raw footage for an ad from a multi-camera shoot of an interview , recorded digital audio of the interview, and a screen capture of a video demo that supplements the interview. First, I’d gather all of that material on my own computer in a single folder. I would typically want to use a large external USB-3 drive for my raw video assets, but you may have your own preferences.
Next, I’d crop all my material to 16:9 and cull my footage using my favorite desktop video editor. As I culled, I would make notes about which clips fit with what part of my script; about where in the timeline I would want to leave the audio track but cut away from the video to stock images or video; and what the key messages conveyed by the stock visuals should be.
For ease of upload, I would export the culled footage to a subfolder with H.264 compression, at the maximum size I expect to use in my final video. In my case, that’s usually 1080p, but for videos that are intended only for web and mobile viewing 720p would suffice. For later editing convenience I might also separately export any audio that is integrated with video. (If you shot with separate audio, you can skip this step.)
Then I’d upload my culled, compressed footage to a Tubifi project. That can take awhile — typically about 3 times the length of the footage to upload and transcode, so I would start the upload just before leaving my computer to do something else. Your mileage may vary depending on your chosen resolution and how well your clips compress. (This is the only part of the process that requires some patience.)
Once the material is available on the Tubifi platform, I’d start marking video and audio clips in and out and dragging them into my timeline according to my script. As I did that, I’d search for stock footage, images, and finally music to improve my story-telling.
I would then record a scratch voice-over track while watching a muted play of the composition, and upload the voice-over audio to Tubifi and drag it into my voice-over track. Then I’d add a few titles, add some simple fade transitions, and share the first draft with my customer or anyone else who wants to review the video.
At this point I might want to create some motion graphics and render some effects on my desktop, or if what I want is beyond my capabilities I’d find a motion graphics or FX person on the Tubifi platform and recruit them to help me out. I’d also start recruiting voice-over talent to replace my scratch voice track with something polished. If I recruited outside help, I would duplicate my composition and have them work on the copy.
Meanwhile, I’d be getting emails and in-platform notifications about the comments on my first draft. I’d make the necessary changes, add in the finished rendered clips (unless my FX contractors had done that for me), replace my scratch voice-over with the real voice-over (unless the VO artist did that for me), and once again share my flattened composition with my customer.
Once the customer approves the second draft, I’d buy all the stock used. Tubifi will automatically conform it into the composition in the cloud. Once I get a notification that that’s complete, I would export and download the composition as a 1080p MP4, and also export and download the assets and FCP 7-format edit decision list file to my desktop.
If there’s additional editing to do, I’d either do it quickly in Tubifi and export once more, or make the changes in my desktop editor. I use FCP X on my desktop, so I’d open the FCP 7 file in 7toX, which will translate the file to FCP X format and open it in FCP X.
There I could grade and tone the video, apply audio envelopes, and possibly replace the basic transitions and titles I used in Tubifi with fancier ones, as long as the fancier transitions and titles improved the story-telling. If I was using a green screen, I’d do the Chromakey work on my desktop as well, possibly with image assets I bought on Tubifi.
And there you have it: a high-quality video ad, soup to nuts, made in 2 days — for much less money than a similar quality video ad made conventionally.