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Important Workflow Questions.

COW Forums : DaVinci Resolve

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Alexander HigginsImportant Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 1:04:48 am

Hello Everyone, I have been working with Resolve for about a year now and I love it, MOSTLY, when it runs well and fast, when it is slow, I want to poke my eyes out. The System is a 5,1 MacPro with 24gb Ram and QuadroFX 4800 and a Geforce GUI Card, blackmagic broadcast card and fibre storage..

Here is the breakdown on most all the stuff I grade.

--- Problem1, CG Animation with lots and lots of Mattes ----

Step 1. Layer of sRGB 10bit DPX from the compositing or CG department.
Step 2. Many DPX Luma Mattes. min amount of mattes two or three, most amount of mattes 20+

When I grade with this system all the DPX files are on a Fibre Raid, and when I have that many Luma mattes, the system can choke, big time, the FPS is not the issue its the lag in refresh when I adjust a grade. Sometimes I will adjust a node and I have to wait 2 to 3 seconds to see the adjustment!! Its really horrible, and when I have a client breathing down my neck, i want to commit seppuki.


Question 1. Where is my bottleneck? Do I need a faster Raid? Faster System bus? The playback is about 2fps to 8fps, but that doesn't bother me, once the frames cache it plays back in realtime. How can I speed up the 2 to 3 second lag when I adjust any settings?

Question 2. How are the images loaded in DaVinci? Does it have to load every frame into DaVinci to do an adjustment, does that mean it needs to load the DPX frame and all the LUMA mattes?

Question 3. Can changing my workflow from something like DPX to EXR, where I can get the frame smaller help DaVinci not get bogged down when grading?

--- Problem 2, Too Many mattes ----

Like I said sometimes my grades have 20 mattes, its because of the complexity of doing grading of CG elements with clients. Everything from the nob of a robot to his teeth need mattes because a client wants to adjust it.

Step1. I bring in each DPX sequence and HAND LINK all the mattes to each clip.
Step 2. If I have a new revision of a shot from CG, See Step 1.
Step 3. Repeat, Repeat, forever...

Why is it so hard to relink mattes, everything has to be done by hand, WHY!!! If I am working on 20 revisions of a shot and I have twenty mattes for each shot, thats 400 mouse clicks to get up and running in Resolve.

Question 1. Can I cut and Paste Mattes?
Question 2. Is there anyway to automate this process?
Question 3. Will Blackmagic make it easier to link Mattes?

--- Problem 3, Building Layers and Rendering ----

Step 1. Build Layers in DaVinci Conform Section, top Layer has Alpha Output enabled, and there is a key from that layer going to the output.
Step 2. Put the Background Layer Underneath that layer with Alpha.

So this essentially creates a Decent Comp, my question is.. .HOW THE HECK TO I RENDER THIS???? I mean this is a great tool, but the fact that I can't figure out a way to render that as one clip is soo pointless.

Question 1. Is there a way to render these layers as 1 comp/file/quicktime?
Question 2. If there is not, WHY???? Blackmagic should have that is a feature 3 versions ago.


I know this is a lot of information...
Thanks for any help.
You guys are the best.


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Michael JordanRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 1:59:49 am

This is not really an answer to your question (I'll leave that to much smarter people), but have you tried Smoke? It sounds like it may be a better tool for this kind of project.


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Alexander HigginsRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 4:13:06 am

Hey Michael, I have used smoke, I worked with a demo for about 8 months. It has some cool features, but a very cumbersome and archaic workflow. It was Smoke for Mac, since we are still reliant on ProRes 444 and 422. Smoke for Mac does not have Batch, the real compositing engine for Flame and Smoke Advanced. I have met and talked with lots of Autodesk Pros, and they try to tell me what action can do, but I hate Action as a final compositor. Its horrible. When you have Batch, you don't have to use Action for much more than brining in Clips etc, but in Smoke for Mac that is your compositor and Its not up to todays pro level. As for the color warper??? Come on... Color Warper is to DaVinci Resolve as MS PAINT is to Photoshop. So yeah, I have tried Smoke, and if I was doing a lot of Online Editing it might be ok, but for grading its not good enough. Also whats up with the Price?? They always claim you can get 40% more work done?? But its 140x more expensive, so should they say you can get 1400% more work done? Autodesk is a still a costly investment.

This is not really an answer to your question (I'll leave that to much smarter people), but have you tried Smoke? It sounds like it may be a better tool for this kind of project.


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Kevin CannonRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 3:03:41 am

For your problem #3, are you rendering in target mode? Target mode should bake all visible tracks into the output exactly as you see them on screen. You would have to set ins and outs for each quicktime you want to create.

Cheers,

KC


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Alexander HigginsRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 4:13:32 am

Hey Kevin, I'll try that thanks!


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Kevin CannonRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 6:04:12 pm

Also, are your mattes coming in 1 or 3 per DPX sequence? Starting with 8.0 Resolve supports using the R, G, B channels for three separate mattes... I honestly have never had a reason to figure out how that works, but sounds like you could ask your compositors to provide them that way... It's very common to do that in Nuke, right? Best case scenario you could have one third of the mattes...

KC

Prehistoric Digital
PhD Grading Suite


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Juan SalvoRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 6:17:59 pm

Hi Kevin,

I haven't tried it, but I know openexr supports multiple channels as well. Would those work in resolve? I couldn't find any mention of support for multicnnel mattes from exr.



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Kevin CannonRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 6:23:18 pm

The 8.0 release notes only specify using 3 mattes in RGB... I think they would mention it specifically if you could use more channels with open EXR. But again, I just remember that feature, I've never actually used it.

KC


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Alexander HigginsRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 9:24:07 pm

Hey Thanks for all the IMPUT, I figured out the multichanel in Resolve, so in whatever new version, when you add a MATTE it has multiple outputs on the side, each one is a chanel. IT WORKS!!

Problem is there is no way to go R or G or B or A to see the matte in a channel in that node.. but I am going to play with it some more and see what I can figure out.


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Juan SalvoRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 9:56:13 pm

Does it work with OpenEXR? or have you only tested RGB dpx?



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Alexander HigginsRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 10:19:53 pm

It works on both DPX and EXR.. But it has 4 outputs, which I thought was like LUMA R G B but its not.. Its like R R G B or something, I don't know why, Im still playing with it.

I haven't tried an EXR with a lot of Mattes, but I think it will still only see RGB..


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Juan SalvoRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 10:50:31 pm

Wouldn't it be RGB/ALPHA?



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Alexander HigginsRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 11:15:07 pm

Thats what I thought at first, but we brought in files that didn't have an Alpha. Just RGB. It might be on clips that Have an Alpha, but not sure yet.


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Dwaine MaggartRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 11:18:53 pm

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/277/7588#7632

Dwaine Maggart
Blackmagic Design DaVinci Support


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Juan SalvoRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 16, 2012 at 2:52:36 am

Thanks Dwaine. That clears it up.



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Juan SalvoRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 3:31:22 am

From the sounds of it Resolve is not the right tool for you. Have you considered nuke? It's built specifically for this kind of workflow. And has some decent color correction tools. I would consider an approach of adjusting individual elements in nuke, then doing an over-all pass in davinci to get a final look that doesn't require any or at least as many mattes.

For all it's compositing abilities Davinci Resolve is absolutely not a compositor.



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Alexander HigginsRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 4:24:56 am

Hey Juan, yes, I am a top end Nuke artist been using it since it was a D2 comp program, before that Shake. Nuke and DaVinci Resolve are like an Apples and Oranges comparison. All of the color sessions are watched by clients, producers and agencies and require realtime feedback.

PROBLEM with NUKE for Grading...
1. Broadcast Monitor Support is buggy and crashes a Lot.
2. Nuke does not support real time caching.
3. Nukes Color Grading Nodes are adequate but no where close to what Resolve can provide.
4. Grading in DaVinci resolve with panel is much faster and more responsive than in Nuke with a mouse.
5. Desktop LCD/LED do not provide the proper feedback required to officially approve broadcast material with our current workflow.

We do definitely do a very close color grade in NUKE before we go to resolve, but of course its a client driven industry, and if a client wants to change a color... ad it has to be viewed in a large suite with tons of people standing around, then it always to through resolve..

Ideally, I just want to figure out a way to add more MATTES into my sessions without the system going to a snails pace...


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Juan SalvoRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 4:30:47 am

Could you have multiple objects that don't over lap in the same matte? Then use a power window and track to isolate just one for adjustment?

That's the only thing I could think to improve performance. Reduce the number of mattes.

You may want to try a local sas array of 10k or 15k drives for matte cache. Fibre doesn't always do the best job with random file access. Are you running a san file system? Try copying the files to a non SAN file system.

The other bottle neck might be the system bus. Consider a windows system with more and faster pci2 lanes (pcie 3.0 may help quite a bit), and more gpus. Keep your storage card on at least an x8 lane slot.

Oh and of course RAM. You didn't specify any of your system config.

But truthfully I've never heard of anyone using 20 mattes on a single shot. That's like drawing up 20 streams of (hd, i'm assuming... again not specified).. so a local SAS storage for mattes and separate storage for image... or various pools for images and mattes would be helpful.

You could try using prores 422 or some lower bandwidth media for your mattes to reduce the toll on your bus.

It sounds like you're in a tough spot... the perfect tool may not exist for your specific workflow.



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Mike MostRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 5:17:33 am

It sounds to me like your hardware choice is severely underpowered for what you're trying to do. If you really want to drag that many elements in a color correction system, you need a hell of a lot more power than you're going to get on a Mac based system. If Resolve is a program you want to use for this, I would strongly suggest looking at the Linux systems, which have a lot more expansion capabilities than either a Mac or Windows system can offer (which is one of the main reasons Blackmagic is continuing to make and support them). What you're talking about doing really requires a lot of horsepower. Other systems that would probably accomplish what you're talking about are things like Quantel Pablo and Baselight 8. Both of those cost about $300K. If you want to do what you're talking about on a simple desktop solution, the price you're going to pay is the price you're paying, which is very, very slow performance.


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Juan SalvoRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 5:27:13 am

Mike is right. It hadn't occured to me but a baselight four|eight with a few cluster nodes would be a far better solution for this. Baselight would allow you to bring your mattes right into the sequence. Making them far easier to place.

http://www.filmlight.ltd.uk/pdf/datasheets/FL-BL-DS-0481-BLMultiNode.pdf

Not to mention has built in media distribution, so that the mattes and images are automatically on different drive sets.


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Mike MostRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 3:36:05 pm

Well, I would also point out that what the original post is describing is a real time compositing system that can composite more than 20 layers of HD footage in real time, as well as storage and a processing bus that can support approximately 8 GB per second, or the equivalent of about 7 real time streams of uncompressed 4K images. I don't know of any current technology that can do that, and you certainly aren't going to get it on a desktop with one GPU card.

Today's technology is very advanced and capable, but we're not the Jetsons quite yet.


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Alexander HigginsRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 5:06:42 pm

Hey Mike and Juan, I agree 100%. I have used both Baselight and Quantel. Yes they are amazing systems in their own way, but the reason I am on Resolve is the reason I am on Resolve. Quantel costs as much as an amazing nice house with a Depreciation greater than investing in "mortgage exchange swaps??" Not sure, I know Quantel in its current proprietary form, with QCare to keep it running, is only an option for maybe a Spielberg or a Cameron.

Baselight, I love it, my favorite Grading System, but again, the Baselight HD I tested for the price, was only a little better than Resolve.

I have pushed my current bosses to Baselight and Mistika and Nudcoda, whatever I could, once the price comes up they loose it and leave the room and slam the door and call me bad names. So price being an issue is not a joke. Now that Resolve is the price it is, those high end systems aren't even in the conversation anymore.

Once Baselight and Mistika reduce their price, then maybe I can revisit it.


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Juan SalvoRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 5:17:26 pm

Well then tell your bosses this is the performance they get at that price point. You have my other recommendations above. But you'll end up spending 30k+ to get mildly better performance.

You came on the forum complaining about the performance with resolve, saying you have very demanding clients that accept no compromise. If that's the case then you should be able to bill your clients the kind of rates that support a 300k+ system as that is the performance they seem to be expecting.

Good luck to you. I think in 5 years well all be seeing the type of performance you dream of but by then your clients will be asking for the same performance in 8k images and well all be right back at square one.

BTW, Baselight HD won't cover it for what your asking for. You'd need a maxed out baselight system, with 8 cluster nodes, to get the kind of throughput your clients expect.


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Alexander HigginsRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 5:58:17 pm

Hey Juan, I agree, but i am the middle man in this situation and in a lot of ways the sacrificial goat, I have to figure out why things are not fast and efficient, but make everyone happy with the price point. Right now my only option is to use less mattes.

Thanks Everyone for all your imput.


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Joseph OwensRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 7:37:31 pm

[Alexander Higgins] "the middle man in this situation and in a lot of ways the sacrificial goat, I have to figure out why things are not fast and efficient, but make everyone happy with the price point"


Have they trotted out the "hey, my 8 year-old-nephew can edit this on his *new-iPad* so why can't you do it"? Run for your life.

jPo

You mean "Old Ben"? Ben Kenobi?


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bob kimberlyRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 9:25:18 am

first off davinci is not a compositing tool. i would love to know how you can see all those mattes in resolve! usually one layer takes precedent of the other so i can't even imagine trying to balance all those mattes. you really should be doing that kind of work in flame or if you insist on doing it as a function of grading then you should consider the nucoda or even base light. they can handle the workflow you are trying to do. what you're doing is trying to race a go cart around a formula one track.


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Nick AndersonRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 4:23:20 pm

Higgins, as u mentioned, u r a top end nuke artist. And from my point of view, you still are. Maybe u push balls around, but the way u doing your job, is not the colorist way.
My advice is, change the strategy of your workflow, not your system or technical details in your workflow. Colorists just dont do job like that.
Calibrate the monitor in your compositing system, dont have to be precise if you dont got the topgrade one, just as close as you can. Then communicate with your client, ask them adjust color/brightness relationships within different elements/layers on the compositing system. After finished there, export mattes for essential elements like sky/main actors etc. Fine tune in your resolve.
Thats the way it should be.
Otherwise, next time if its not an animation but a feature. You have big combat shots, then it wont be 20 mattes, but 200 just if u r lucky enough.


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Alexander HigginsRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 5:14:24 pm

Hey Nick, I totally Agree, only thing is workflows can be pushed that way, but it will always change, their are about 20 compositors currently and not every job produced can be done that way, but a lot can, It just depends, but once the Project is in Resolve, and the client wants to fix something after primary grade, we can only being using Resolve to correct that color. If it goes back to comp then any color grading will be destroyed by resolve.

Aside from that, not all the compositing stations can be upgraded to be color correctable, their is an issue with upgrading 20+ workstations to have color calibratable monitors and keeping track of calibration and profiling is a big issue, and a small nightmare. We have a hard enough time keeping our grading room calibrated, and keeping the lighting and environment consistant, then tossing 20+ compers doing their own thing with their monitors, its just too much to keep track of.

I have done two features in Resolve, and yes, I did not bring in One Matte, I did it all with color keys and windows, it went fine, had workflow issues, but the grading was a breeze...

Its the microscopic CG animated commercials that break the system.


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Eric JohnsonRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 7:04:10 pm

[Alexander Higgins] "The System is a 5,1 MacPro with 24gb Ram and QuadroFX 4800 and a Geforce GUI Card, blackmagic broadcast card and fibre storage.."

It sounds to me like you need to change your GPU situation... not that that cure everything but... I was under the impression the Quadro FX 4800 was weak sauce compared to the newer Quadro 4000... So maybe a 4000 as a GUI, a Cubix and 3x GFX 480's or 580's would help. That won't fix everything but it could help. And since there's the new nvidia drivers, buy PC cards... or get'm from macvidcards... All told though, that and some super fast local storage will get you closer. Though, depending on how much storage you need, that's still @ $20k (Storage + HBA + Cubix + new GUI + new GPUs)


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Craig CampbellRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 8:11:34 pm

It's not out yet but have you had a look at the Baselight plugin that is coming for Nuke?

Understand the real time element but as Nuke does seem more of the tool of the job and you know it, it could be a helping factor.

http://www.filmlight.ltd.uk/products/editions/range_ed/index_ed.php#Baselig...


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Margus VollRe: Important Workflow Questions.
by on Mar 16, 2012 at 8:13:53 am

I bet does not really matter how you pimp computer 20+ streams of material at once will kill it in some point of time. as stated before tho whole workflow needs to be re organized.

calibrating a lot of monitors is not space and scifi any more but it will cost you.

--

Margus

http://iconstudios.eu


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