In Part One we looked at how Red Giant Bulletproof imports media and structures it in a catalog that behaves like a virtual hard drive. Please read the disclaimer because it is relevant here as well.
In this part we’ll cover organizing and reviewing.
While you import, you have the option to define or load presets. In the beta version, there are two preset categories:
- Import presets
- Keyword presets
Import presets allow you to choose your backup and folder strategy and then save that. Want to import and perform two backups and have a special date format that you love? You can save that for future use.
The import presets are saved as .bpwp files in the Library/Preferences/Red Giant/BulletProof/Presets folder by default. You can get to that by selecting ‘Manage Presets…’:
The above image relates to adding keywords, and saving them as a preset group that you can select quickly. You can also change the keywords in a preset and change it.
By using presets, you can theoretically make the import process a lot more streamlined, with minimal repetitive tasks. It is impossible to judge the complete functionality and utility of this system unless and until both color and metadata functionalities are active. After all, they are the two most important reasons for even wanting a single-software to do everything for you.
Organizing your footage
The second stage in the Bulletproof workflow is ‘Organize’, which might not always be required.
Why? Because if you have a straightforward import process, then you might not want to reorganize your folder structure, which is what Organize does. In the Organize panel, you have the following options:
- Moving around folders and clips, renaming them, etc.
- Tagging your clips with flags, stars and color schemes, etc.
- Search function
The first is straightforward, and can be accomplished within the Import stage. The second looks like this:
You can also tag directly on your clip, by hovering your mouse and clicking as follows:
Tagging your clips is necessary when you might want to find, sort or organize them quickly. For this, Bulletproof comes with a simple but feature-rich search function:
You can search for data types, metadata, keywords, name and tags – while at the same time specifying what to include as a specific subset of your search. All boys with orange hair, freckles, torn sneakers and who had not paid their library fees in 1998? You got it.
Thoughts on design: Other software, like Prelude and FCP-X, have separate popup boxes for import. Bulletproof adds it as a mandatory extra step. In its defense, Bulletproof is geared towards dealing with a more complicated import scenario, via adding color and metadata presets upon import. If and when this functionality is deployed, it will make more sense as to why Import and Organize have to be maintained separately.
I feel it’s a positive move, considering the long term. Once you’re done with Import, you want a clean slate to organize your stuff.
Finally, the Search box needs to be ‘checked’ to come into view. For a ‘pane’ that hardly does anything, I think this is an unnecessary additional click of the mouse.
Reviewing your footage
Once you’re done with Organizing your clips, get to Review by clicking it. This is what you’ll get:
Review has a playback pane that lets you scrub through your footage. You can log your clips by selecting In and Out points. You can also add markers for easier editing.
Suggestion: Why not have the option to going to a specific timecode position to mark or log that frame? Going back and forth finding the right frame is doable with JKL, but not with the mouse or trackpad on the field on a laptop.
All this works exactly like any other NLE. The interface is simple, intuitive and responsive. Bulletproof uses the GPU for processing but not acceleration, and I had no lags while playing back H.264 DSLR footage, both interframe and ALL-I.
Suggestions on design: I’m not sure why Review is ‘after’ Organize, or even separate at all. E.g., how can I organize my clips, or mark it as good, rejected, etc., without reviewing them? Most other applications combine organizational and logging ability into one pane or window, and I think Bulletproof makes it more complicated than it has to be.
The Review and Organize stage must be one, where you can log your clips, decide what needs to stay and then organize and tag them the way you want it. The two processes are not different, but are two sides of the same coin. This might be one reason why Review, like Organize, isn’t always mandatory. When they both are, they are both likely to be so at the same time.
Furthermore, playback is repeated again in the Refine stage (later), so it sort of feels redundant. All this is assuming Red Giant doesn’t have any grand plan for playback. E.g., I found it confusing that the manual talks about scopes and histograms in the Review panel, but I can’t find them anywhere within that stage.
Lastly, the manual doesn’t say much about the Organize or Review panes, so there’s your writing on the wall.
Organizing and reviewing clips are simple functions, and Bulletproof does them well. Your clips retain resolution and frame rate information, and Bulletproof makes no changes to these.
The playback window resizes to match the aspect ratio of your footage. To set your playback preferences, go to View > Playback Preview Options and choose Best Fit or Actual (1:1). If you’re on a laptop with a resolution lower than 1920×1080, then you might want to choose Best Fit. Otherwise, select 1:1. Most modern computers can easily playback 1080p H.264 footage.
All said and done, I don’t think Bulletproof skips any important tagging and logging features. It has all the bells and whistles – color coding, keywords, tagging, etc. Going forward, I’d like to stress-test the search feature but I’m positive, with Red Giant’s pedigree, it will pass with flying colors.
In Part Three we’ll look at Refining and Exporting.