Adobe OnLocation CS5 review

OnLocation CS5has embraced the tapeless revolution in cameras with some gusto, offering a media browser that presents all external hard disks and file-based camera media for browsing before importing it to your hard drive. You have a choice of viewing the media as a file directory or only content in AVCHD, Panasonic P2, Sony HDV, XDCAM-EX or OnLocation project file formats. Direct browsing allows you to open up the content and play it in the OnLocation Field Monitor, then add In and Out points for logging clips. You can use the new Timestamp button in the Project panel to mark placeholder clips while footage is being recorded elsewhere on a tapeless camera, then choose to auto-match on importing the relevant clip, which merges its metadata with the corresponding timestamped placeholder. You can also manually drag clips to a specified placeholder you’ve created as part of a shot list. You can also still use the FireWire input method to record direct to the hard drive, using the Field Monitor for scrubbing and editing. In both methods you can set preferences for real-time clip analysis.

Another new feature is Comment Markers, for adding notes during recording or playback. So you could for example add vfx directions, as the comment markers will also transfer over to After Effects. A new Turbo Comments feature works a bit like a speed-keywording utility, allowing you to set up to nine unique keyboard shortcuts to add frequently used words (such as cast names) as comments to log live action accurately.

A sea change of equal magnitude in the OnLocation workflow is provided by the integration with the scriptwriting tool, Adobe Story. XML-based scripts are exported from Story as ASTX files, which transforms information like scene numbers, shot location, time of day etc. into metadata. After import into OnLocation you’ll see the script in the Project window as a list of scene-level placeholders, with relevant script metadata in the Action column of the Project panel (you may have to adjust metadata display preferences to show it). Using the Break Out Scene feature, you can break a scene into multiple shots, or use Duplicate Placeholder to copy metadata properties from the selected shot to a new one.

OUR VERDICT

OnLocation has moved with the tapeless times to provide extensive support for file-based formats. If your workflow no longer supports FireWire-based tape input, this is a must-buy upgrade. Integration with Story is also a bonus; the only downside being that the scriptwriting tool will only remain a complimentary service for a limited time.

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