The industry standard for copying video clips and photographs to your Mac is without a doubt offload app ShotPut Pro. This application is now in its sixth generation and has received a complete overhaul. ShotPut Pro 6 has a more intuitive interface, a better workflow, and puts you more in the driver’s seat than any previous version.
With ShotPut Pro 6 you get a brand new interface that is much more user-friendly than previous versions of the app. Volumes to which you offload can be monitored for progress, with enough graphical clues to make it instantly clear how far you are in the process. Even the main window, where you drag the media or files to offload shows you a colour-coded progress of the process.
The ability to offload any type of specialised media, such as RED, Arri and Panasonic cards, with strong integrity checks, remains one of ShotPut Pro’s most powerful features. This power has been updated with more flexibility. Where you were once forced to offload whole media, the new version makes it possible to copy media files directly into existing folders. This is called Destination Mode and it entails dragging files directly from media to already existing folders on your offload volumes to put them in a queue.
Obviously this can’t be done from multiple media to multiple folders at once. To automate the entire offloading process, you’ll need presets.
Automating the offload process
Presets are central to the idea of ShotPut’s multi-media to multi-volume offload mechanism, but I was a bit disappointed to see the automation only referring to setting the offload destinations and auto-naming folders. There is no ability to automate the offload process without creating new folders on the destination volume, nor is there an option to drill down into the structure of the source media and only offload files — just as you would manually do in Destination Mode. This shouldn’t be hard to code in, as cameras always dump the data into the same location on the media.
ShotPut Pro 6 does, however, allow you to create presets for each type of camera/job-type combination. This capability avoids you having to create complicated conditional statements. Instead, you can for example create a preset for an Arri camera used for documentaries about nature and another for the Arri when it’s used for movies about sports. But you can’t tell ShotPut Pro to only copy the files to the folders you have already created for this job. On the bright side, you can give each offload job an identifier name, so you can look it up more easily afterwards in the Finder. If you happen to run Hazel, you can then automate moving the files to their end-destination folder, for example.
You can even integrate ShotPut Pro with HD-VU2, Imagine Products’s clip viewer. HD-VU2 will automatically load clips as it “sees” them being dumped into the watch folder by ShotPut Pro 6. As HD-VU2 is capable of watching multiple folders and even attach a LUT to all clips within these folders for viewing purposes, you can create a powerful offloading/screening system.
ShotPut Pro has powerful reporting capabilities, including notifications when offloads have finished or when there’s a problem. The reporting system includes full reporting on the offloaded clips as well. I set the app so that it automatically creates a report in the destination folder that I can print or email. The reports include thumbnail images of the clip and a summary of the clip’s file and video information.
Reports aren’t a take it or leave it matter, either. There are enough controls in the Report Preferences to make everybody happy. For example, you can choose the number of thumbnails to generate — one or four sampled frames — as well as include information about your business, and more. If you only want a summary, that’s possible too.
ShotPut Pro 6 is no speed demon
There’s a lot going on when offloading with ShotPut Pro, and that shows in its performance. Although the app has become faster than it was a couple of years ago — I skipped a version — it’s still no speed demon. A quick comparison between Hedge for Mac and ShotPut Pro 6 showed the former beating the latter in a 3-to-1 ratio. Hedge for Mac needed just 2min 30sec whereas ShotPut Pro took 7min 24sec to process the same media.
With Hedge for Mac, you don’t get presets or reports, but it too has built-in integrity checks.
ShotPut Pro 6 is a great piece of software. It’s stable, it’s feature-complete and it allows you to set up a one-click system for offloading media. It’s not perfect, though. I missed the ability to preset a folder inside the media to offload so I could automate the copying of files instead of full media.
ShotPut Pro 6 is not going to break the sound barrier either. If you have ever tried Hedge for Mac, you’ll know how fast that app copies your files with the same level of security. ShotPut Pro 6 does have a powerful reporting capability, which can be a real life saver when you’re creating videoclips for a living and it offers great visual and easy to understand feedback while it’s processing your files.
If you have a lot of media to offload on a regular basis, if you need reporting functionality and want integration with a clip viewer, and if you don’t need your media to be freed up from the offload process itself, then ShotPut Pro 6 is a great offloading app. If speed has the highest priority, then Hedge for Mac would be a better choice — at the very least until Imagine Products succeeds in making ShotPut Pro as fast as Hedge.
A ShotPut Pro 6 licence costs about €115.