On-Set Database


Managing Metadata from Set to Screen


The idea of BlaknBlu Limited’s Filemaker Pro On-Set Logging Database is to remove the requirement for paper logging from the Script Supervisor, Sound Recordist, DIT, Editor and Director. Traditionally, all these protagonists made paper notes for each take in a production. The Editor would then collate this mound of paperwork to assist her in choosing takes for the edit.
The Filemaker Pro database allows all this data to be input on-set (or later, if required) and presented to the Editor in a single, comprehensive, searchable application.


The Workflow


The most effective workflow is to have the Script Supervisor and Sound Recordist both accessing the database simultaneously. The database can be running on a computer on-set (often the DIT’s machine) – the Script Super and Recordist then log into this database from an iPad or iPhone/iPod Touch running Filemaker Go, or from a laptop, either running another Client copy of Filemaker Pro, or using web access (Filemaker Pro includes its own web server, allowing browsers to access the main database with almost the same functionality as the full programme). This approach requires a wired or wireless network to be implemented on-set, the complexity of which will depend on the size of the shoot, but can be as simple as an ad-hoc network using a MacBook laptop.
Much of the initial database entry is done by the Script Super.

The Script Supervisor


On logging in, the Script Supervisor is taken to the Script Supervisor Log layout. At the right hand end of the green header bar as a hidden field allowing you to set the name of the production (e.g. Being John Malkovich). The fields in each record are intended to record the following information:

  • The date that the take was shot
  • Unit Number
  • Camera (The camera for which this record is made)
  • Camera Specs (Lens data, camera type etc.)
  • Slate
  • Take
  • Script_Scene
  • Episode
  • Shooting Day
  • Text description of the scene
  • DayNight
  • Int/Ext
  • Time of day that the scene is set
  • Page Count (traditionally in eighths of a page)
  • Completion status
  • Text description of the location
  • Weather
  • Timed length of the take
  • Length of the take estimated from the script
  • Status Pull Down List Good/bad etc.
  • Print Take Button
  • General notes and comments on the take

Camera Buttons

In order to cope with shoots that require more than one camera, several buttons are provided. Once the basic information for camera A has been entered into the record, press New Camera to generate an identical record for camera B. Note that each successive pressing of New Camera will generate new data based on Camera A so, to avoid unnecessary entering of data, make sure that you have completed the record for camera A before adding further cameras. Should this be impossible, the large button Duplicate to All Cameras at the bottom of the screen will duplicate the currently displayed data to all cameras for the take.
Once you have records for multiple cameras, use the Next Camera and Prev Camera buttons to access records for the cameras for a specific slate and take.

Slate and Take


Once you have entered the information for the current slate and take, press Next Take for a new take and New Slate for a new slate. All the relevant data from the current slate/take will be duplicated in the new slate/take record, reducing the amount of data duplication required.
Note: Each record must have data entered for Unit, Camera, Slate and Take. All other data is optional, as far as the database is concerned, though obviously not as far as your Editor and Producer are concerned!


The Sound Recordist


The fields in each record are intended to record the following information:

  • Date
  • Unit Number
  • Slate
  • Take
  • Take Status Pull Down List Good/bad etc
  • Sound Roll
  • Sound Clip Name
  • Sample Rate
  • Word Length
  • Frame Rate
  • File Format
  • Track nn (Text Description of sound on each track e.g. Boom, Actor’s lav etc.)
  • General notes about the take

Slate and Take


Once you have entered the information for the current slate and take, press Next Take for a new take and New Slate for a new slate. All the relevant data from the current slate/take will be duplicated in the new slate/take record, reducing the amount of data duplication required.
Note: Each record must have data entered for Unit, Camera, Slate and Take.

The DIT


The DIT is restricted to updating the Camera Roll and Clip Name for each record. It is usually easiest to use the menu ‘Find’ commands to locate the clip that you wish to enter details for, by searching for a specific Unit, Camera, Slate and Take.

The Editor


The Editor View pulls together all of the data entered for each camera clip by the other departments in the production. Common data is shown in the top section of the layout (Slate#, Take# etc.). Below this section, three tabs allow you to see data specific to the Sound Recordist (track designations, status and notes), the Script Supervisor (continuity information etc.) and your own notes, as well as the Director’s (which may have been entered by the Script Super or by yourself when viewing rushes). Although the Editor is given write access to all the fields in the database, it is expected that you will generally only be making notes in the Editor’s Notes tab. As well as the Director’s Notes section, two areas for Editor’s notes are provided. ‘Viewing Comment 1’ could be filled out during initial viewing of the rushes and ‘Viewing Comment 2’ having watched the footage in more detail prior to first assembly, for instance.

Security


To prevent accidental deletion or modification of data, only the Editor is given full access to the database. All other users can only access data relevant to their position, and records may only be deleted on the day that they are created (allowing for the correction of mistakes, but preventing loss of data).

If you are interested in working with us, and using the database for your production, please email us using the Contact form on this website.