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Add a Media Consolidate feature for Single File Format documents.

I'm currently working on a course with hundreds of 4K videos and I have a remote editor doing the editing.

It is challenging having to zip up these very large files (which can take a while), drag them into Google Drive, wait for them to upload - and then for the editor having to drag them out of Google Drive, wait for them to unzip (which again takes a while) before he can work on them. Then him having to repeat the same zipping and dragging process again on the way back - for me to review.

It would great if there was a Media Consolidate feature for Single File Format documents (one which contains all data & media within it).

For example, Final Cut Pro X there's a Consolidate feature that pulls the media into the document at that point. 

With this feature I could massively improve my workflow. I could just:

  • Record a video
  • Save it straight to Google Drive
  • Once uploaded, my editor can open it straight away in Google Drive
  • He can save when finished
  • I can review his work right within Google Drive, without any zipping, unzipping, dragging around etc.

This would really remove a lot of hassle and improve the workflow.

I hope you'll consider it.

Thanks,

Danny

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  • Danny Connell said:
    Save it straight to Google Drive

     

    Danny Connell said:
    I can review his work right within Google Drive, without any zipping, unzipping, dragging around etc.

     The problem is the services may corrupt the document even if the media remains intact. 

    This may be one reason why some higher-end NLEs work on creating their own custom shared media workflows with a server specific to such work.

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    • CraigS I think it’s highly unlikely though. I’ve never had any single file corrupted by Dropbox or Google Drive in over a decade of regular use. I would certainly be willing to take that small chance (while keeping a copy of the raw files elsewhere). 
       

      The issue with screen flows seems to be the fact they’re in a folder. So one person uploads the Screenflow package, 2nd person sees it and it looks ready - they pull it out of the cloud drive - but it’s not ready - some of the child files were not fully uploaded - so the whole package gets screwed. 

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  • Danny Connell said:
     I think it’s highly unlikely though. I’ve never had any single file corrupted by Dropbox or Google Drive in over a decade of regular use.

     When using ScreenFlow and saving to a Cloud drive or working from a Cloud drive, the file can certainly become corrupted which is why ScreenFlow throws a warning if you attempt to do that. 

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  • Could there be a "manifest" file in every packaged project that documents what the current state of all files should be (or just roll this into one of the other non-video files in the package)? For instance, the sizes and last edit dates of every asset? Then when opening the project, the manifest is checked against the actual files to make sure things are up to date, and if they aren't, it throws up a huge red flag that editing may cause corruption? Even simpler, just create some checksum for every file and save it in the project. If the checksums don't match at open time, sound the alarm to the user.

    Another thing that might help prevent mayhem with multiple editors is a lock file that is created whenever someone opens a file. So long as that file exists, anyone opening the file elsewhere should get a huge warning that someone might be editing the project elsewhere, do you really want to edit, etc.? Properly closing the project could then delete the lock file, and the manifest system should still make sure that syncing is complete before another user opens it up.

    Or is there some other way we are worried about data corruption? My only bad experiences have been the two above scenarios, where syncing isn't complete and I try to edit something, or if someone is editing at the same time.

    It seems there has to be some way to make this work rather than blaming cloud services for being what they are. I can't save something to the Desktop anymore without risking iCloud chopping it up to bits, it seems.

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      • CraigSModerator
      • Telestream Desktop Forum Moderator
      • CraigS
      • 11 days ago
      • Reported - view

      William Wolf We haven't yet found an easy way around this (to do what you want). NLEs that have online sharing workflows often have proprietary services.

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    • CraigS , is my suggestion too implausible? At save time, call md5sum (or something similar) on every file in the bundle, saving those checksums to a file, and then at load time, calling md5sum on every file again, and comparing the results against that file to see if anything is out of sync?

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      • CraigSModerator
      • Telestream Desktop Forum Moderator
      • CraigS
      • 10 days ago
      • Reported - view

      William Wolf One problem if the file breaks it may not be fixable. The cloud storage system has to know how to handle it. Will the cloud service know to resync a broken file with a good one of the same name? The developers will look at it if there's enough support.  Consolidate is viable but doing it live to a cloud sync service is the challenge.

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    • CraigS I understand that the details of how Dropbox/Drive/etc. work is out of Telestream's control, and they don't want that unpredictability to make their products look bad, but I think an honest attempt to minimize the danger while acknowledging the possibility of unforeseen corruption to the user is preferable to the current situation. And besides, some services provide version tracking, so those users may be able to recover from the rare mishap. I'm not asking for perfection, but mitigation and a clear explanation of what circumstances are most likely to cause corruption would make me very happy.

      Or allow Screenflow to directly open zipped files (unzip into a temporary directory on the backend, do the editing, and then rezip whenever you save, then destroy the temporary directory on exit). Include a giant warning that simultaneous editing will cause huge problems. This zipping/unzipping chicanery is the real pain here.

      Or heck, just roll your own Screenflow-only file sharing service! I'd pay a few bucks a month to have the peace of mind and convenience, even if it's only for my own video files. Okay, that's unreasonable, but my point is that this is something I'm willing to pay for so I don't have to think of storage, transport, and backing up of my projects anymore.

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  • Danny Connell Obviously I've been thinking about this quite a bit (too much?) lately, and I may have a third-party solution to your problem using Hazel. Hazel watches folders you care about, and when conditions of your choosing are met, it will do things to files in those folders (say, zip all screencast documents that have the word "ready_to_edit" in their titles and move them to another folder... even a Google Drive folder!).

    You could create rules that recursively watch your [off-Drive] work folder for changed Screenflow packages, zip them up, and then move them to a Drive folder (maybe called "to edit". You can even make it match your folder structure, so if you have some base folder called "Screenflow Projects", and everything is in there, it can recursively watch all sub-folders, so you don't have to create new rules for every project.

    Then your editor could have a rule on their end that watches "to edit" for new zip files, which moves and expands them in an identical file structure on their computer, but off of Drive, for editing. They could have a similar set of rules watching their work off-Drive folder structure, which takes newly edited screenflow documents (perhaps with "done_editing" in their name), zips them, and moves them to a different drive folder, called "edited", which syncs them back to you, perhaps even overwriting your original work location.

    It'd be a bit tricky to get your rules just right, but once it's set up, you wouldn't have to worry about zipping or unzipping ever again, and neither of you would need to directly edit files that live in Drive. Only downside is that if you want to leave the zip files on drive, rather than just using it as a vehicle, they'd take up roughly twice as much space since you'd have two versions.

    I'm experimenting with this now, and it seems promising.

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    • William Wolf Thanks William, that sounds like it could help, I'll look into that. I do currently have an Apple script that automatically zips a screenflow file into the Google Cloud folder, and this helps a little bit. But a bit more automation would be great.

      R.E some kind of Screenflow cloud platform where people can collaborate on Screenflows - I would also pay for this in order to get past this problem.

      But honestly I think the Single File Format with Consolidated Media option would solve the problem for me, since my remote editor and I are hardly ever working on the same files at the same time, and can easily avoid doing so with a little communication 👍

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