The Digital Cinema Data Workflow

MARVIN is client-server-based and uses a web browser as its user interface. The system is easy to set up and use, guaranteeing that your shots are delivered safely and securely, whether you are shooting with RED, Phantom, Arri D21/Alexa, Weisscam, SI2K or Panasonic P2.

MARVIN Step-by-Step

1) Create Project

Click on the “New Project” button. You will be prompted to name your project and enter a password. The settings cannot be changed without this password. Press “Save” and a new database for the project is created.


2) Project Settings

Clicking on the “Project Settings” button guides you through the settings for your project.

You can choose the number of secure Master LTO Tapes MARVIN creates each day. Two LTO tapes can be recorded concurrently, if an optional second LTO drive is installed.

Under Project Settings you can set MARVIN to generate QuickTime offline files and DVD dailies containing all the shots of the day organised in chapters.

You can also choose which digital cinema cameras you will be using for this project. Options include RED, Phantom, Arri D21/Alexa, Weisscam, SI2K and Panasonic P2.

After that, you set the format and codec for your offline QuickTime files, and the location for storing these files. The QuickTime files will always have the same frame rate as the original files.

The format and codec options include

  • Format: 1920x 1080, 1280×720 for HD or 720×576 and 720×480 for SD
  • Codec HD: DNxHD, H.264, Uncompressed 10bit 4:2:2, Uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2, and Photo JPEG, MPEG-4
  • Codec SD: DVpal, DVntsc, H.264 and H.263 (not recommended for editing), Uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2, Uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2, Photo JPEG, MPEG-4
  • Debayer Quality: FULL RES Premium, HALF RES Premium, HALF RES Good, QUARTER RES Good, EIGHTH RES Good, SIXTEENTH RES Good
  • Gamma: LINEAR, REC709, REDgamma, REDspace, REDlog, PDlog685, PDlog985

The initial color corrections required of RED material are automatically selected, thus avoiding unusual combinations.

The pre-set combinations are:

  • REDgamma with REDcolor
  • REDspace with REDspace
  • REDlog with Camera RGB
  • REC709 with REC709
  • PDlog685 with Camera RGB
  • PDlog985 with Camera RGB

In the future a custom GAMMA/color transformation choice will be added allowing users to load custom color looks.

The third settings screen allows you to choose whether you want an end-of-day DVD in PAL or in NTSC, and to set the format of progress and log reports.

The progress and log reports include thumbnails and shot names, as well as the timecodes and metadata for every shot. During shooting you can add your own metadata to this report, such as shot numbers, slate numbers, scene numbers, best take and any other notes you may wish to record.

MARVIN also stores an entire error log file so that issues can be traced and corrected. The error log file is saved in the MARVIN database.

Once you have selected all the setting for your project, MARVIN OnSet is ready for use.

3) Activate Project

When MARVIN OnSet is started and a web browser connection over the Ethernet is established, the user can activate the project from a list.

Once a project is selected, MARVIN loads the database for that project. As noted, the project settings are password-protected.

A folder is created on the internal RAID 5 with the name DAY-# (1, 2, 3…).

Once the project is active the “End Of Day” button becomes active.  At the end of the shooting day, when the “End Of Day” button is clicked, MARVIN automatically increments  the DAY-# folder.

4) Ingesting Media

Once connected, MARVIN will automatically detect any removable media and save all of the data to its internal RAID 5. Upon insertion of a CF card into MARVIN’s card reader, or connecting a RED Brick via FireWire:

  • MARVIN copies all the data from to its internal RAID 5 in the appropriate folder. This is a secure checksummed copy.
  • MARVIN streams the data from its internal RAID 5 to the LTO tape(s) and performs a verify pass to ensure integrity of all the data.
  • MARVIN transcodes the files to QuickTime and MPEG for offline files and DVD.
  • MARVIN copies the contents of the folder QT_DAY-# to your specified external path. This is also a secure checksummed copy.

When it has successfully completed the first queue, MARVIN will disconnect the CF card or RED Brick. The camera media can then stored or re-used.

5) End Of Day

After completing all media ingest, the “End Of Day” button becomes active.

At the end of the day, you will be prompted to insert new LTO tapes, (labeled with the correct shooting day). MARVIN is programmed to checksum and verify all the data it stores to ensure maximum safety and integrity.

MARVIN will make a separate folder on the internal MARVIN RAID to store the offline files named QT_PROJECT X_DAY-#. When an external storage system is connected, MARVIN prompts you to either ingest camera files, or offload offline files (or ignore the external storage). Offlines can be output to anything from FireWire drives to USB drives. Once you select the path for the proxies, MARVIN will automatically copy the contents of the QT_DAY-# folder to this external drive into a folder with the same name.

Every individual offline file created by every MARVIN user in the world has a unique file name. This ensures that no file can be accidentally overwritten, even by files from another MARVIN. These including QuickTimes, dailies, thumbnails and LTO masters.

After pressing “End Of Day” MARVIN will automatically increment the number of this folder to match the number of the folder on the internal RAID 5. A secure copy of MARVIN OnSet’s database is also written to the tape and the DVD.

When you press the “End Of Day” button:

  • MARVIN saves the complete database to the LTO tape(s) inserted.
  • The DVD tray will automatically open and you will be asked to insert a blank DVD-R disk.
  • MARVIN saves a FCP projects xml file to the QuickTime offline folder.
  • MARVIN saves an AVID ALE project file to the QuickTime offline folder.
  • When finished, the LTO tape(s) will be ejected and you will be reminded to label them with the correct shooting day.
  • The DVD video containing all the shots of the day will be ejected.
  • You will be prompted to choose a location to store the progress report files. These files can then be used together with continuity reports to facilitate offline editing.
  • All removable media will be ejected.

6) Creating New Master Tapes or Offline Files

If the LTO tapes from any particular day are lost or damaged, new tapes can be generated from the data on the internal RAID 5 array. This copy is always available on set.

The user will be guided through the necessary steps to create new master tapes or offline files.

7) End Of Project

After completing the entire project, the database can be stored in a user-defined location. This can be a writeable DVD, USB stick, etc. This database is of course also stored on tape, but it is very handy to be able to access this database without restoring it from tape. This DVD or USB stick should be sent to the postproduction facility for further use after the offline editing is finished.

8) MARVIN InPost Step-by-Step

MARVIN InPost is a separate stand-alone application. Postproduction facilities can install the MARVIN software on their own server or use a MARVIN box similar to the MARVIN OnSet system. The software will restore only the files used in the offline edit to a user-defined location for further post processing, saving time, storage space and bandwidth.

Once the software is installed on a server and started a user interface becomes visible with only four buttons.

  • Load Project Database

When you press this button, a project database can be loaded from a user-defined location. You will be prompted to select the path to the location of the project. Once loaded the project name becomes visible in the user interface.

  • Load EDL/XML

When you press this button, an edl/xml can be loaded from a user-defined location. You will be prompted to select the path to the location of this edl/xml. Once loaded the shot names are filtered out of the edl/xml and are compared to the shots in the database and a list report of all the matches becomes visible.

  • Restore Project

When you press this button, you will be asked to select a path for the restore location and prompted to insert the first LTO tape, or when a tape carousel is connected, all tapes will be recognized automatically. The restoration starts immediately. The system will store all of the clips selected by the offline editor for further post processing.

  • Log Report

A complete log report of the restoration is kept inside the project database and becomes visible when pressing this button.

Download the MARVIN User Manual.