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Best Practices - Version Management


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So a regular scenario I encounter while working on grades for commercial / digital content for an agency: 

Step 1: You grade a few select clips for review of color direction.
Step 2: Client provides feedback, additional changes are made, this repeats a few times
Step 3: Client decides that they liked the 2nd version more than 3 or 4 after all.
Step 4: Everything gets graded with the 2nd version of color

How do you manage all these different grading versions so you can easily go back to a previous version and apply it, or use it as the base for a new version?

In Resolve I would duplicate the entire timeline and save it as Revision X. Also, on every clip as I change grades, I would create a new version and label it as Revision X.

So I have the older complete timelines as backups. But within any given timeline, I have every grade version for every clip, I can easily load it to revert to it or then make further changes.

In Mistika so far I have been of course saving the entire timeline via 'Save As' Revision X. So at least I have a record of what was there at a certain point.

But there isn't an easy way within a timeline to label/preserve version. So to some extent I have been adding new color nodes for each revision, and locking old ones. But that means the stacks are getting a bit unwieldy. 

I guess I can also create presets of various grades, but that's labor intensive, and a preset only addresses one node, not an entire stack.

Or I could load the previous timeline, find the clip, copy the entire stack, then load the current timeline and paste it. Does copy/past work between timelines?

Or instead of duplicating the timeline, simply create a copy of it above the original in the timespace, and hiding/disabling the previous one underneath. Makes for a messy timespace though after a few revisions. Maybe collapse the previous grades into a group to keep things manageable.

Keeping in mind that any project may have 30-50 clips which between them may have 10 variations/scenes that share a grade. So this has to be scalable in some way.

I assume this is not a new problem. How are those of you who have been using Mistika for a long time on commercial projects been doing this? What's the best practice?

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Hi Jan,

I normally don't like the idea of duplicating full timelines for "easy versions". I do it if I am going to make major changes and for some reason I want to keep my previous one (like bringing some especific effects, or grades, but knowing that most part will change).

If the version is done over the original one I prefer to load just a new color Grade Track in which I will make the changes. I can bypass any time the original grade, so managing this is quite fast. Then I can create multiple versions of the same shot by using the History function. Honestly, I normally don't care if in one shot I have 3, 4, 5 or 10 versions, Mistika won't go slower so I will just keep the one that I want. And I can always copy that grade to other shots by bringing the correction or coping all the versions in just one go by copy the entire Color Grade to other selected shots with a couple of clicks.

Another option (and this is a small trick), is using the Link effect. Let's say that I don't want to have multiple Color Grades one above the other, because it makes the timeline a bit messy. And duplicating the whole timeline, even in the same timespace, can make things a bit more complicated because you have to bring things from one copy to another. Well, using Links you can put your several copies in vertical without messing too much the timespace. 

Basically open the Node Graph and duplicate one of the links to create the clip in the Timespace. Now you can close the Nodegraph. Place the Link on top, extend it to the whole duration of the timeline and make an Split conform to divide it in individual shots. With this link you can point to any position in vertical, so basically you have multiple versions, but avoiding duplicating those effects that you know they won't change (like Raw params, Unicolours, Framings, etc). In that way you can create multiple versions of your timeline in a more cleaner way. And because you have them in vertical, review any one of them is as easy as bypass or Hide the version that you don't want. You can even create a comp3D that splits the image in several cuadrants to compare all the versions at the same time. 

I attach an image to show you a simple example:


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Thanks Adrian for this thoughtful reply.

I quite like this trick with links. That seems very easy to do and easy to copy back and forth without making for a really messy timeline. I will give this a try on the next project.

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