Cut back to our winter spot: the good news was that because for this spot we had jammed timecode I was able to use SNLX, saving me the headache of manually syncing hundreds of clips. However, I still had the same issue with our anamorphic footage not coming in correctly. At this point I figured I might be able to save myself a little time by experimenting with manually editing the XML spit out by SNLX, since the sync itself was fine just not the frame size*. I opened it up, and sure enough, the dimensions for all the synced clips were listed as the original squeezed size (5760x4320). I assumed all I would need to do is replace the 5760 number with the correct de-squeezed number.
This was where we encountered the next wrinkle. How was I going to get the proper dimensions? Last time I was able to open the ProRes files from the Alexa in Quicktime, but this time I only had R3D files, and those wouldn’t open in Quicktime. Thankfully Final Cut Pro saved the day. Using the built in “generate optimized media” feature I was able to run a test on a short R3D clip and create a ProRes file that would open in Quicktime. This gave me the de-squeezed dimensions of 11520 x 4320 (big enough, do you think!?) and I could then return to the XML and replace all instances of 5760 with 11520. I saved the XML, hoped for the best, and imported it into Final Cut.
Low and behold it worked perfectly. All my synced clips were now the proper de-squeezed size and all my audio was perfectly synchronized.
Despite these initial setup headaches, from here the edit process remained fairly straight forward. Because of the huge frame size (over 10K) I did have to work entirely in proxy mode, which ultimately wasn't a big deal (but did make me covet one of those fancy new iMac Pro's, or at the very least a 5K iMac). Normally at this stage I would pull up my on-set notes and my trusty copy of Shot Notes X, however since I wasn’t on set to take detailed notes I skipped this step this time around. The directors had taken notes of their favourite takes, and thanks to the information contained in the audio files from the sound recordist, scene numbers and take numbers were transferred into the FCPX metadata when the audio and video was synced by SNLX. This made assembling my first cut much quicker.
With picture finally locked it was time to do the hand off to the colourist. I was a little worried about this stage, since the last time I cut a spot using R3D files the colourist had trouble opening my XML and relinking everything. However this was not the case for the folks over at Triangle Post. Matthew Bush and his team were brought into the conversation at an early enough point that we could get footage over to them for testing in their pipeline, as well as testing a working copy of my FCPXML prior to picture lock to ensure the translation wouldn't cause problems, so when it came time to prep for the colour session everything came smoothly into Resolve.