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Versatile Delivery Systems Frameline 47

A Video File Management System that will organize all the media on your system to make your editing life a breeze By Kevin McAuliffe

One thing that my fellow editors always hear me say is that organization is key to being a fast and efficient editor. If you can't find your shots, you can't edit quickly, and the chances of you bringing your project in time, on time is slim. When I was asked a little while back to take a look at Versatile Delivery System's (VDS) Video File Management System called Frameline 47 (FL47), I jumped at the chance to see how I could further streamline my editing process.

I guess the first question most people will have is "What exactly is a Video File Management System?" The short answer to this question is that it is a program that will organize all the media on your system to make your, and your producer's, editing life a breeze, and FL47 definitely does that!
Installation of FL47 is relatively straightforward. The thing that is important to remember is that once the installation is complete, FL47 will need to scan your system for all the available media to manage. This will obviously vary depending on your system, but it is only done once, which is more than understandable considering the nature of this application. Installation: 9 (out of 10) 

FL47 is also a "try before you buy" which means  you can download the application and try it out for 30 days before making the decision to purchase it.

What You Get
At first glance, most people would see FL47 as a simple logging program for Final Cut Pro, and the truth is that it is, but it is also so much more. With FL47 you have the capability to:

  • Annotate each shot you have on your media drive(s) down to the very finite details
  • Browse and locate files on your system quickly and easily
  • Group shots together
  • Do some basic "editing" with your footage
  • "Present" your footage, (which basically means playing it back full screen)
  • Export MP4's of your "edited" or "non-edited" work
  • Export of QuickTime, MPEG-47,  .FL (Frameline), FCP XML, MPEG-7, TXT and ALE files

When I started looking at all that FL47 could do, I thought it had potential but it was when I sat down to start organizing, that I was thoroughly impressed. What You Get: 9 (out of 10)

How it Works
FL47 is broken down into four main sections."File" is where you can navigate through your system to locate all your media files. From this window, you also have quick access to the other main "boxes" (Edit, Annotate and Present), as well as quick access to the "Encode/Convert" box, where you can stream files or "timelines" for client approval, and the "File Filter" and "Purpose" boxes for more streamlined media management. "File" also gives you a complete overview of "People" who have been annotated in your clips, as well as an "Asset" folder that you can assign in your Preferences for quick access to a specific group of media (current Final Cut Project your are working on) on your system.


In my opinion, "Edit" is where your organization begins. This box is where you take your long clips and begin marking them with "cut points" so you can log any and all details you want to have associated with that clip. You can also name your shots, and the group it will be associated with from this window. Starting and stopping your media is done, much like in Final Cut Pro, by simply pressing the space bar, and you can mark your cut points by simply pressing Apple+/.    

Once your footage is divided into smaller, more manageable pieces, it's over to the "Annotate" box to really begin your organizing. Here, you can enter everything from "Who, What, Event, Place, Time, Keywords, Description, Transcript and Notes". Here's where the power of FL47 really starts to show. Using the "Who" description as an example, if I had three shots, and in one shot was myself, the next shot was my wife, and the last shot was my mother-in-law, I could quickly annotate each one accordingly. Once I have a shot that has all three of us in it, I can simply select each of our descriptions (whatever I named us) from the quick select boxes in the "Who" section. Now, searching for individual shots of each of us is easy, and finding group shots of the three of us is even easier! When exporting your XML for Final Cut Pro import, some of your description boxes will transfer over:

Frameline 47 Field Final Cut Pro Field 
Who & What Master Comment 1 
Thread & Event  Master Comment 2
Place & Time  Master Comment 3
Keywords  Master Comment 4
Value Comment A
Description   Description 
Transcript  Scene
 Notes   Log Notes


One thing that is also great about FL47 is the fact that once you have input all the data you want to input for a specific clip, and you save your work, FL47 imbeds the information into the QuickTime file, so the next time you open FL47, your clip(s) is ready to go!

"Present" is the final "box," and here you can view your footage or your timelines full screen on your cinema display, and at the bottom of the screen you will see a rough "timeline" that you can quickly navigate through to see particular shot or segment.

This is all a pretty straightforward description of FL47, so let's see a typical Assistant Editor workflow, and for me, it's right back to my favorite pieces of media, my wedding video. Believe it or not, my wedding video turned out to be a good test for what FL47 could do, as I digitized it in long pieces ranging from 30 seconds to 25 minutes each, which is the way that most editors, or assistants for that matter, will be digitizing their footage.

Once my media was digitized, I launched FL47, and was ready to go. First things first. I selected the clip I wanted to "organize," and opened the "Edit" box.    Pressing the space bar, I watched my footage, occasionally stopping to mark cut points. At this point, I also could have entered clip information, but for me, I prefer doing that in the "Annotate" window, but that is a personal preference.   As well as being able to "group" clips together from the "Edit" box (a great example of clips you might want to group together would be takes from a film or television shoot, i.e. Scene 1 Take 1, so if your producer/director ever asks to see all the shots from that take, you can find them quickly and easily), you can also "Mark" shots in the edit window as well. 

NOTE: By "Marking" a shot, they will appear as red on your clip. Now you can simply choose whether you want to "Hide" the clips or show "Only" those clips you have marked. Here is where the "editing" in FL47 takes shape. Do you want to create a "rough" timeline? Simply "Mark" the clips you want to see, and select "Only" to show only those selected clips. Now, head back over to the "Annotate" box, and at the bottom of the screen select the "File Order" drop down to change it to "Alternate Order". Now you can rearrange your clips to do non-destructive "rough cuts" from inside FL47 with no actual edit system required. To view your "timeline" simply switch over to the "Present" box and press play. Also, something important to keep in mind is that if you hide clips (or show only Marked clips for that matter), when you export your XML to Final Cut Pro, the hidden clips will not appear in the XML. What alot of people may not realize is that the average ratio for raw footage versus final show footage is about one hour of raw footage for every minute of final product.   That means that there will be alot of footage that is not needed, or just not good in general (camera bumps, bad audio, tape break up). By using "Marked" clips, your assistant editor (or even producer for that matter) can log and organize only the required footage that you will need to get the job done.

Once all your footage has been marked, it's back to the "Annotate" box to input all the information you need. At this point I can tell you that you should input information for this value, or that value, but I won't. FL47 gives you a massive amount of flexibility as to what you want to detail. Be vague, or be specific. It's your choice.

Once you have logged all your footage, you are ready to export your XML (or other format) for Final Cut Pro. Once imported into Final Cut Pro, you can expect to see a clip breakdown of what you have logged in FL47 (the XML file understands the "groups" hierarchy as well, and will put groups into new bins for you), and my suggestion here is to create a bin view that includes the parameters supported in the XML transfer from FL47 (see above for the list). How It Works: 9 (out of 10)

Final Total: 9 (out of 10)

Purchase Recommendation: Absolute Buy


  • Organizes down to the smallest of details
  • Powerful search features allows you to find shots quickly and easily
  • Support for Final Cut Pro and Avid (via Avid Log Exchange)
  • Producers can "Rough Cut" before stepping foot into the edit room


  • Program can be daunting if you don't watch the help video
  • DV Scene extraction would be a great addition

I wanted to include a bonus section in this review, as I thought that Versatile Delivery System had done a great job with the "Help" section of Frameline 47, and I highly recommend that everyone watch it before they start working with the application. Most applications come with the usual "Users Manual" which is definitely still included here, but there is also a video that is approximately 30 minutes long, and is a great addition as it is organized extremely well, and will give all users a great foundation to start with. Simply select HELP>HELP, and click to download the 70 megabyte file.

Final Thoughts
Overall, I was extremely impressed with Versatile Delivery System's Frameline 47 ($299), and I think that this is an exceptionally powerful tool that can easily be implemented in any post facility. Whether you work on a single edit system that has producers coming in on the night shift to log and organize their footage, or whether you are on a shared storage system where you have an independent logging station hooked up to your SAN, this program will not only organize your life, but it will also speed up the post production process, saving your clients time and money. For more information, visit

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Kevin P McAuliffe is currently a Senior Video Editor working in HD post production in Toronto, Canada. He has been in the television industry for 12 years, and spends his days onlining on a Final Cut Pro HD. Kevin's high definition onlining credit list includes concerts for Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Snow Patrol, Sum41, Paul Anka, Il Divo and Pussycat Dolls, to name a few. Also, Kevin is an instructor of Advanced Final Cut Studio 2 at the Toronto Film College. If you have any questions or comments, you can drop him a line at

Related Keywords:Video File Management System , NLE, video editing, editing workflow,

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