Remote Video Editing

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By: Renat Zarbailov

I have been looking for a solution to edit AVCHD video while traveling without carrying around a full-fledged workstation PC for a long time now. I even contemplated to build one right into a carry-on luggage. Today I decided to experiment to access my newly built workstation (I called it Silent Screamer) using browser-based remote access software.

I have uploaded the AVCHD footage from my Toshiba M200 tablet PC to the Silent Screamer using Dropbox. Logged on to the Silent Screamer through a free account at logmein.com (you must install the logmein taskbar program on the remote machine before doing so, in my case on the Silent Screamer). Remote controlling through tablet PC I opened that footage in Sony Vegas Pro 8.0b timeline. The video looked good but it was having square blocks along the whole preview window, plus without audio feed from the video timeline.

To resolve the choppiness of video preview I set the “Preview” setting, located on top of the preview video window, from “Auto” to “Quarter”. This made the video look quite small but playable almost at full speed without any choppines or jitter. In the same fashion I resolved the preview playback in Adobe Premiere CS3. Simply changing the preview from “Fit” to “25%” does the trick.

To enable remote audio I plugged the other end of the audio cable that comes out from the Silent Screamer’s sound card to the microphone input. I then lowered the volume level a bit in the control panel sound settings to avoid sound abundance going into the microphone input. Now it was time to play around with Skype installed on both machines, but the sound kept on garbling up, so I abandoned this approach and went for Sighspeed . After creating two accounts, one for each machine, I successfully was able to hear the sound remotely. In the Silent Screamer’s Sightspeed microphone settings I set it to the sound card’s microphone to which the speaker cable was plugged.

So… when everything is set and done all it takes is three simple steps to start editing your HD footage remotely, provided you have high speed internet access on both machines.

Step 1. Upload the footage to Dropbox or any other web-based cloud storage.

Step 2. Launch Sighspeed, and  call the remote machine – audio-only, no video calling, you can set the auto-pickup calls within the settings of Sighspeed on the remote machine.

Step 3. Log on to your logmein.com account and start remote-controlling your remote video-editing machine. Import the footage into timeline and start editing.

Now… imagine editing AVCHD video on an Asus Eee PC 900 using this aproach? :).

Update; To preview the final video edited remotely in almost full-frame playback I have pointed a Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 at the monitor in the area where the video editor’s preview window is, and this time video-called the remote machine using Sightspeed. Setting the preview setting to “Auto” in Vegas or to “Fit” in Premiere will make the playback look great. No matter how good is the quality of the lens of the webcam though I would have to revert back to logmein editing for precision. The webcam approach is only for previewing the final edits with larger viewing video area.

Update 04.09.2008;

There is now a solution for web-based video editing, albeit a proprietary software, called MAXedit Web Edition. If only Adobe would create an add-on to Premiere to do that it will be heaven for traveling videographers around the world.

I welcome your input to improve this workflow…

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