1.4 Workflow Manager


In our previous extended study material for the Level 1 PFClean training (1.3 Media Admin), we looked briefly at the Workflow Manager and Media Manager and imported some footage into the media bins. We used the Media Admin panel to administer the clips we imported from tutorial 1.2 Importing Media in PFClean. In this follow up we will be going over the Workflow Manager looking at what we learnt in the live training and expanding on a few aspects. So let’s start where we left off in the Workflow Manager.

If you haven’t completed the previous tutorial (1.3 Media Admin) I would suggest going back and starting from there as we will be using some of the material and profiles we generated.

NOTE: To follow along in this tutorial, you will need access to the clips provided for the class. If you don’t have them to hand, below you will find the link to download the footage again.

Tutorial Footage

The footage used in the training.

Footage: PFClean_Training_Material.zip


01. Workflow Manager

The Workflow Manager is the organizational hub of PFClean. Using a node graph, it controls and illustrates the flow of clips from import in the Media Manager through Media Bins to exporting the final result in the File Out nodes. This overview serves both as convenient way of visualizing large projects and a means of selecting and managing media in a project.

02. Flowing Clips from the Media Bins

At the top of the tree we can see our 4 clips that we imported inside of Media bin 1. We will be flowing these clips down the tree applying some tools and along the way before finally exporting our clips. Before we add additional nodes into the tree, we are going to tidy up the media bins by deleting the two we will not be using in this exercise. Let’s second mouse click on Media bin 2 and then click delete to confirm, now repeat for Media bin 3. You can second mouse click and delete any node you have added into the Workflow Manager.

The first node we will be adding into the Workflow Manager is the Workbench node where in-depth, per-clip, manual and automatic restoration effects are applied. To add a Workbench node to the Workflow Manager simply click the + button under Workbench on the left hand side of the GUI.

If the Media Bin was selected when you created the Workbench, the nodes will automatically be connected to each other. If not, connect the nodes by dragging a line from the Media Bin’s output into the Workbench.

The clips are now available to work on in the Workbench. Double click the Workbench to enter the node. At the bottom of the Workbench’s UI you can see the clips we imported into the Media Bin and flowed into the node.

We are not going to perform any actual work on the clips in this tutorial. The Workbench is covered in more detail in a separate tutorial. Click the Workflow Manager button to return to the Workflow Manager.

03. Standards Based Workflow

Our Media Bin contains clips of two different standard formats, 2K and PAL. We only want our 2K clips to flow through the Workbench. To achieve this, open the Select a standard menu on the top of the node. Select Full Aperture 2K from the menu.

We can double click the Workbench node again to see that there are now only the 2K clip left in the node. Return to the Workflow Manager.

The Media Bin now has a second output, containing the remaining PAL clips. Select the Media Bin with a single click, then create a Telerack node by clicking the appropriate + button on the left. The Telerack node is where fast, automatic, cleanup of tape based formats is performed.The Telerack node is automatically connected to the second output of the Media Bin. Since there are only PAL clips flowing through the new output, the standard format for the Telerack node has automatically been set to PAL. Note the figure in the middle of the connection between nodes – this is the number of clips flowing through the connection, in our case three PAL clips and one 2K clip.

NOTE: While PFClean is able to import and use clips of a non standard film or broadcast formats some tools will not be available such as the Digital Wet Gate, Telerack and Standards nodes.

04. Top to Bottom Workflow

Drag either the Workbench or Telerack nodes with the mouse. You can see that the nodes are only able to move horizontally.

The node types live in their own horizontal layers, and the output of each node can only be piped into a node in a layer below, creating a stream from the Media Bins at the top of the Workflow Manager down to the File Out nodes.

05. Extending the Workflow Tree

The next step we are going to take is to create a Remaster node and add it to the bottom of the Workbench. To do this we will make sure the Workbench is selected by clicking it once and then add a remaster node by clicking the +button below Remaster. PFClean will automatically connect any node you add into the tree to a node you have pre-selected, if nothing is selected you will have to manually connect the nodes together.  If you accidently add the wrong node into the tree it can easily be deleted by clicking the second mouse button and confirming by clicking delete. Whilst Remaster is selected let’s add a Standards node to the tree by clicking the +button under Standards. You will see the Full Aperture 2K format has automatically been detected. For this exercise we actually want to use the Standards node with the Telerack. Disconnect the Standards node from the Remaster node by clicking on the connection. As with all delete operations in PFClean, and to prevent the accidental breaking of a connection, you have to click again to confirm you really want to disconnect the nodes. Then connect the Standards node to the Telerack.

For this tutorial, which is about flowing clips in the Workflow Manager, we do not need to concern ourselves about what exactly the Remaster and Standards node do.

06. Exporting Your Clips

We already have one File Out in the project, let’s connect the output from the remaster node to the existing File Out node. Then create another File Out node by clicking the bottommost + button on the left-hand side called Output and connect our new File Out to the Standards node. Paramateres for each export can be changed individually by clicking on each of the File Out nodes, the default will be to Pass Through and render in the same format as the source. The render location will also default to the path project:/export. Click anywhere in the middle of the Workflow Manager to close the File Out panel.

At the bottom of the Workflow Manager is the hourglass export control. The number at the top of the hourglass indicates how many clips are ready to export, in our case currently there are 4 clips. When we are ready to render we will click the triangular button on the left of the hourglass to start the export. As the export progresses, the number at the top decreases, and the number at the bottom, indicating exported clips, increases. When export successfully complete both File Out nodes and the hourglass control turn green.

07. Getting Help

On the top left of the PFClean window, you will find a button with this icon C_1_4_image1This is the help button and will open PFClean’s documentation in your web browser.  Other help buttons with the same icon are located throughout PFClean’s user interface and provide more context sensitive help.

Now we have everything prepared we are ready to start looking at some of the restoration tools in PFClean starting with the Workbench…

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