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Product Review: Red Giant BulletProof

DSLR shooters now have a great file ingest and management tool

Red Giant recently released BulletProof – their new data transfer and management tool for DSLR shooters. BulletProof was first introduced as a “teaser” at NAB 2013 back in April along with the premiere of Seth Worley's “Spy vs Guy”.

What makes BulletProof unique is its easy to follow and use workflow and controls to ingest and manage your data in the field, on-set and through to the edit bay. The simplicity of the software's UI makes it feel like a simple utility – until you get under the hood and discover what it really does for your media – including automatically creating a backup to a separate location/drive when you ingest from your media cards. But there's really so much more…

While the first release of Bullet Proof only works with cards/footage files from Nikon & Canon DSLRs and GoPro Hero, they are quickly adding the most demanded cameras to their list of compatibility and integration. BulletProof v1.0.0 only supports the importing of h.264 and ProRes file formats. I imagine this will be an ever-evolving process that will be automated with regular updates once you have the software installed. They are already sending out surveys to registered users asking what cameras they are currently using. Also note that it is currently only available for the Mac OS but a Windows version is in development.

So what exactly does BulletProof do? Let's looks at the (simplified) breakdown of the process. I used some B-roll from my Canon DSLR and a couple of GoPros on a recent video production we're shooting for an IndieGoGo project to see how it all works. 

Import

This is the first step of the process. You simply mount your camera's media card and launch BulletProof and create a catalog and folder for the movie clips to import too. It's best to use an external HD and save both the catalog file and the clips to the same directory.

You can chose to let BulletProof simply automate the ingest/backup process to your selected directory using the defaults, or use the more detailed mode to create sub-directories, folder naming formats, color presets metadata and keywords BEFORE you import. You can also add additional files directly from your desktop by selecting-dragging folders to the BulletProof icon and they will be included in your catalog.


Organize & Review

Once you've set all your backup, metadata and importing prefs and completed the import to your hard drive, you can now organize the clips and set sub-folders to re-organize your clips by subject or camera angle. You can also flag, label or star clips for further rating and organizing. You can also double-click a clip to preview it in a larger window to determine which takes you may wish to use in your edit – which opens up the Review view. 

You can tab back and forth between all these views and make changes and re-organize at any time.

You can select multiple clips in your catalog either in large selections with the shift key or use the CMD key to randomly select clips and save them to a new Playlist. This is handy for doing a rough-select of clips you wish to use in your production and eliminate the takes you don't want to sort out later in editing. This alone will save some considerable time down the line. It's also great for allowing a producer or director to preview the best dailies or make changes on the set while you're still set up to shoot.

The playback controls are what you might expect – even standard JKL key functions. You can add markers using the M key shortcut and give it a name/description (which appears later when you hover your cursor over it) and can be easily moved and deleted. These markers transfer over to your editor when you export the clips, which are a great way to indicate cuts and takes and any other notes you wish to pass-on about the clip.

Setting In & Out points is as simple as sliding the handles on either end of the playback bar, or using the I and O keys during playback.

Files in the playlist can be re-ordered so they will play-back in a rough cut review. This is great for doing your rough cut dailies to review, as you can go back and grab other takes easily and add/replace them in your playlist before exporting for editing.

Refine

After you've imported and organized your clips and added your rough cuts and basic metadata, you can drill-down further and give your clips more metadata that has further descriptions. You can add information about the shoot, camera, camera angle, crew, descriptive naming and more. The metadata fields can be applied to a selected set of clips or edited individually though copy/paste or direct input. Giving clips names will rename the exported clip so they'll be much easier to locate and organize in your video editor. The metadata settings can also be saved and applied to multiple clips, as well as saved and applied to other clips you import in the future.

You can apply color LUTs to your clips or modify the color manually with the Colorista 3-Way and/or Curves adjustments – which can also be saved as a custom LUT for your project. When exporting your files the color can be applied or export a LUT that can be utilized in your editing software. If you have existing LUTs you want to use or have been provided to you by your editor or colorist.

Export

You can export the entire imported batch, playlists or individually-selected files – apply the color settings or LUTs you've chosen, reset the timecode or make contiguous and even change the framerate of your clips if necessary. You can also chose from a selection of ProRes and h.264 codecs or leave as original upon export.

You can also chose different batches to export simultaneously, such as your master clips with no color correction applied and original framerate and codec, and various other configurations, including ProRes proxies. You can save export presets for faster batch processing of future footage clips on a large project.

 

Once your clips are imported into your NLE software, you'll see that the metadata and markers come along with them as well – making your editing much easier/quicker.

Overview

I think this first version of BulletProof is just the tip of the iceberg for what its full capabilities will eventually produce – and it's what I had hoped that Adobe Prelude could have been: straight-forward, easy to use and not overly-complicated to use on set or in the field on a laptop. At the $199 full version price, I beleive it will pay for itself on the first multicam production.

Check out Red Giant's Vimeo channel to see more in-depth video tutorials about the workflow and watch this quick-start guide:

And for more information or to download a trial version of BulletProof, visit the Red Giant Website.

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Jeff Foster is a published author of several how-to books and training videos in the motion graphics, animation and video production industries and is an award-winning video producer and artist. Visit his web site to learn more about his training methods, tips & tricks at PixelPainter.com

 


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Jeff Foster has written and contributed to several books and magazines, and has been producing motion graphics, photography and creative design for major corporations, television and film for more than 25 years. See his full…

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