FireDay Getting Started Guide
1. About this Getting Started Guide
This guide has been developed to provide a quick overview of the capabilities of FireDay for managing dailies workflows. This guide will provide broad familiarity with the user interface, tools, capabilities and workflows FireDay supports. This guide does not intend to provide exhaustive illustration of all the capabilities of the product, but aims to provide the basic foundation needed so you can apply FireDay to your own workflow.
2. What is FireFly FireDay
- FireDay is an all in one high-performance solution for managing dailies.
- FireDay is extremely easy to use.
- FireDay can automatically and securely copy and backup all production data and metadata.
- FireDay can color correct camera images on-set and in real time.
- FireDay synchronizes production picture and sound.
- FireDay provides sophisticated tools for color correction.
- FireDay can provide scalable and fast output of all formats required for downstream postproduction processes.
3. System Requirements and Installation
FireDay is an application designed to run on the latest versions of MacOS. While it will run on all current and many recent Intel processor Mac models, FireDay benefits from the higher performance of faster processors, plenty of RAM, a high-performance GPU graphics card and requires fast RAID disk drives for real-time performance with high-resolution media.
To Install FireDay:
- Download FireDay Studio at FireFlyCinema.com
- Install the pkg file on your system.
- Start FireDay Studio.
- Upon first start FireDay Studio will request an activation key. You should enter the activation key you received from FireFly Cinema either via demo or Subscription purchase. Please note that this activation key is only valid once on a single machine.
- You are now ready to begin working with FireDay Studio.
4. Login and Project Creation
At FireDay startup, the first screen you will see is the User Login. The default login and password are both firefly.
Upon successful login you will see the Load Project screen where you can create a new project or open an existing one.
For this guide click on the New project button and provide a project name of your choosing. Once the project has been created, click the Load button to enter your project.
5. User Interface Overview
The FireDay User Interface is comprised of 7 workflow rooms.
- Render Media
Upon starting a new project, you will be in the Import room.
There are four different ways to move from one room to another:
- By clicking on the navigation button on the top left of the screen.
- By using the “Goto” menu in the top bar of the screen.
- By pressing the “ESC” button on the keyboard, and picking from the room from the pop-up list.
- By pressing the “ALT” key and repeatedly and simultaneously pressing the “TAB” key you will cycle through the rooms
6. Setup Room
The Setup room established project defaults, directories and settings for each project.
Media Folders (Full Paths)
The directory paths for media (picture and sound) needed for the project must be identified using the Setup Room in FireDay. To add a media directory, press the “+” button and navigate to the directory where the media can be found. Only the files in the identified directory paths will be visible for this project and for this computer. Only those paths appear in the file browser.
The easiest and more efficient way to use FireDay is by selecting the advance color mode in the Setup room. We will use the advance color mode as the basis for this guide. You must have FireDay Studio to use this function.
In the Setup room, you will select the “Grading ColorSpace” which you intend for this project. Images shot in RAW formats will be automatically converted into this color space setting before grading. This setting is automatically defaults to “Default ColorSpace” which is the setting you have chosen here. By default, choose ACEScc (V1.0).
FireDay cannot automatically determine the needed input colorspace conversion for other image file types (non -RAW files, DPX, ProRes, etcetera). These file types will use the Default ColorSpace setting in the Media section of the Setup Room to convert them to the grading colorspace. This Default ColorSpace setting can be overridden shot-by-shot by loading the desired ColorSpace in the “Input” tab within the Color Room.
In the Setup room, use the “Look” selection to select what kind of color transformation will be applied to images. By default choose ACES RRT V1.0
The Display settings allow you to automatically view the graded images in the color space chosen for each display monitor.
Use the “Metadata Folder” selection in setup to choose the folder in which the project metadata will be automatically saved.
When you import media FireDay automatically makes a copy of that media in the directory named “Digital Neg”. It is possible to specify a number of additional copies in the “Clone” input box and direct these copies to additional secure backup and storage locations. If the number of clones is set to 2, FireDay automatically saves a copy on the Digital Neg volume and two additional cloned copies on the storage locations you designate.
The default mode for audio syncing is set in the Setup room. The default mode can be modified for each media in the “Sync” Room. Regardless of the sync method (TimeCode or Embedded), frame offsets can be added to ensure sync between the image and the sound.
FireDay can be configured to support the Blackmagic Design UltraStudio 4K or DeckLink card for video output. FireDay can control the size, frequency and color depth of the SDI/HD-SDI output. FireDay also provides selection of which audio channels will be embedded in HD-SDI signal.
Checksum Cloning Algorithm
FireDay provides secure digital clones by utilizing your choice of algorithms to ensure the integrity of cloned copies with no loss of data. FireDay supports Sha1, MD5, xxHash and bit-to-bit clone verification algorithms.
7. Import Room: Media Ingest and Data Copying
Media ingest and copy generation happens in the Import room of FireDay.
The first thing to configure is the Digital Neg storage. The Digital Neg storage is normally a high-performance RAID disk array that contains all the digital rushes and remains on the shoot.
- By right-clicking on the Digital Neg icon you can select the directory where files will be saved. You must specify a Directory location for the Digital Neg or you will not be able to import media.
- The next item to indicate are the directories for of each of the clones designated in the Setup room. Right click on each of the clone icons to establish the directory where the clones will be saved. The beauty of FireDay the system is that it can be setup to make a quick local clone of a production shuttle drive and simultaneously copy it remotely through the Internet using Aspera or Google.
- In the Volumes area of the Import room, all the hard drives that are attached to the FireDay system are visible.
- Double-clicking on a volume will reveal the files available to import.
- A file may be previewed directly from the camera disk drive by double-clicking it.
- Files can be imported via right click on the volume icon.
- Upon import, the files from the volume are first copied to the Digital Neg storage using the checksum algorithm selected in the Setup room to ensure that the copy is bit-identical to the original rushes.
- Volumes can be associated with a specific camera or look and by selecting “automatically applies” the calibration and/or color grade that was established on-set is automatically applied to the footage on the volume.
- Once the Digital Neg is duplicated on your fast RAID storage, the bit-identical duplication and transfer of the designated clones starts automatically.
- Your media files are now available for further color grading and correction in the Color Room. We will skip to the Sync room next to align picture and sound.
8. Sync Room
The “Sync” room allows synchronizing the image and sound for each piece of media. You must have FireDay Studio to use this function.
FireDay uses audio media only if the media files are indexed in the project database. The media are indexed when they are added to the project in the Setup room in the same way as a picture media is added.
Automatic Slate Detection
While indexing a sound file, FireDay automatically detects the possible positions of the slate. Any available metadata contained in the media file (scene, shot, take, Slate position) are also saved in the database.
Sound Sync mode
FireDay synchronizes the image and sound depending on the Synchro Mode chosen in the Setup room. It is possible to change the sync method for each media file.
FireDay supports three audio sync modes: Embedded, TimeCode and Manual.
Sound Sync mode: Embedded
In Embedded mode, FireDay will simply use the sound information contained in the image file. If an offset value has been set in the “Setup” menu, it will be applied to synchronize perfectly the image and the sound.
Sound Sync mode: TimeCode
In TimeCode Synchro Mode, FireDay automatically synchronizes the picture with sound files having the same TimeCode and Day. Default offset values established in the Setup room will be applied.
Sound Sync mode: Manual
In Manual mode, FireDay automatically synchronizes the picture with sound files having the same metadata for scene, shot, and take. FireDay will synchronize the image and the sound files based on the identified Slate position in the files.
Audio slate position can be refined by moving forward or backward using the left or right arrows keys and clicking on the “Audio Set Slate” button when the position of audio slate is located.
Scene, shot and take metadata and the video slate position for the image file can be edited in the “Sync” room by stopping on a frame closest to the slate and filling in the scene, shot and take metadata and pressing the “ Set Video Slate ” button
There are multiple ways to add (or subtract) an offset between picture and sound.
- By setting up an offset default in the setup menu.
- An offset of 1 frame can be added or subtracted by clicking on the +1 or -1 buttons
- An offset can be set by clicking on the offset Button and by choosing the “Set offset” option for a single media or selection of media.
- An offset can be added (or subtracted) to an existing offset by clicking on the offset button and by choosing the “Trim offset” option.
9. Color Room: Adjusting Look Using Color Grading and Image Tools
The Color room is where color grading, correction and refinement of looks can be developed.
Start by selecting media and dragging and dropping them into the timeline.
Imported media will be displayed using the input LUT and any display or monitor LUTs you have applied.
Unlike in other systems where input 3D LUTs are fixed and not modifiable, FireFly treats all LUTs as a parameter and as such can be modified at any time to correct or improve your media or to try out additional looks.
There are multiple color tools in the Color room displayed as buttons along the lower left of the screen. Please keep in mind there is no automatic saving of your adjustments in the Color room. Remember to save regularly.
Input tools show the Input LUTs and default colorspace that have been applied to the media. Here it is possible to change the default or input settings on an individual media including setup adjustments to RAW file formats such as exposure or temperature.
CDL or Color Decision List tools contains ASC standard color grading controls including:
- Film style grading (printer light, contrast, saturation)
- 3-way grading (lift, gain, gamma)
- ASC grading color tools (slope, offset, power)
The Color In tools provide a more extensive set of color controls than can be found in the ASC-CDL standard set.
- Film style grading (printer light, contrast, saturation)
- LMH (lows, mids, highlights)
- 3-way grading (lift, gain, gamma)
- Hue curves
- RGB curves
- Luminance curves
- Ability to load a 3D LUT
Selective tools provide color grading or correction constrained by a key, a shape, or a combination of both. It is possible to apply the selective control inside or outside this selection using all the color controls available in the Color In tools
FireDay is the only dailies software to provide a color tool with a complete system of selective color correction controls.
Color Out tools (identical to the Color In controls) proved color controls (identical to the Color In controls) processed downstream of any adjustments made in the Selective tools.
Pan & Scan tools allow you to resize and reframe the image.
10. Render and Render Media Rooms: Processing Multiple Outputs Using Node-based Render Tree
The Render room and Render Media room are used for processing multiple outputs needed to feed the postproduction process. FireDay can process multiple versions as needed for postproduction using a node-based render tree which makes designating all the versions fast and simple.
The Render room provides processing set up for all elements in the timeline as a continuous media output in the formats and the resolution designated by the tree.
The Render Media room provides processing set up for all individual media elements in the project as separate media outputs in the formats and the resolution designated by the tree.
All media in a FireDay project are automatically queued for output processing. Even after a project has been started, newly imported media, or media updated with a new color look or synced to a different audio file will be appended again to the output processing queue so the updates will generate all designated outputs.
The default output processing tree is made of 3 nodes:
The Media node is the source content for the the processing tree.
The Resize node is used to adjust the size of output media.
The Output node designates the format and directory location for each output.
By right clicking on the Resize node, it is possible to add additional nodes using the Insert Group menu such as a BurnInfo node where metadata such as Scene / Shot / Take numbers or Timecode Source values can be visibly burned into the output media images and image effects nodes such as Blur, Sharpen and Grain controls can be added.
By right clicking on the Media node it is possible to add multiple Resize and Output branches to your output processing tree to simultaneously output multiple uniquely formatted outputs.
- All metadata is automatically saved to the current date location:
- The calibrations are saved as 3D LUTS in .cube, CDL and Firefly formats
- An ALE and an EDL are also systematically saved
- Metadata are saved on the clone and in the Project directory location from setup.