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FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy

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Frank Laughlin
FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on May 5, 2009 at 4:33:50 pm

I used FrameLink to convert my project (full-length film) from 10-bit 444 1080p to DPX in order to color correct and use a restoration system that only accepts DPX. Conversion TO DPX was amazingly simple.

I'm now trying to go back to QT in order to place in FCP and output the 'new' master to HDCAMSR, but using FrameLink to create a QT file and then fill it with DPX files doesn't work too well.

Besides the snail's pace of trying to copy 15 minute chunks of DPX files in the Finder (21,600 DPX 'frames'), I get 'not enough space' errors. My drive has 1.7TB free, and each 15 minute chunk is about 166GB. Even if FrameLink was creating double the space, I should still have 1.3TB free.

Does anybody know what FrameLink is referring to when it says 'not enough space'?

Also, is there any utility that will replace the 'select-drag-and-drop' concept of moving that many files in the Finder? It would be great if FrameLink allowed you to point at a folder to create the QT file instead of literally having to select and drag every frame.

Thanks for any help.


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Kristian Lam
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on May 6, 2009 at 8:56:50 am

Hi Frank,

How much space is in your boot disk? Framelink uses that as the temp storage when doing the DPX to Quicktime conversion and there's what the "not enough space" is referring to.



regards

Kristian Lam
Blackmagic Design


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Margus Voll
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on May 6, 2009 at 3:00:56 pm

Hi.

A bit offtopic but can you describe how you get MOV out of DPX.
Have not used it as it is not to clear to me.
I have just used shake to make mov.



--

Margus

http://iconstudios.eu


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Frank Laughlin
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on May 6, 2009 at 4:33:44 pm

It's kind of crazy that usage and information about this incredibly helpful tool is so sparse. Here's what I've 'discovered' just by trying it.

DPX to QT:

1. Open FrameLink, a settings dialog box opens.

2. Specify the settings of your media (in the case of DPX to QT, the settings of your DPX files), and click 'Create'. (I don't know if you specify settings other than what your DPX files are if FrameLink would 'convert' to the new format or retain the original DPX format.)

3. FrameLink comes up with a second dialog box asking for a name for your QT file (that it will create) and a location. When done, click 'Create Movie' and it does just that, creating an empty QT movie.

4. A Volume will also mount on your system (with the name you entered) in addition to the empty QT movie that was created in the previous step on hard drive that you chose. Think of this Volume that was just created as a funnel into which you are going to pour your DPX files into the empty QT file that was also just created. Copy your DPX files to that newly mounted Volume (NOT the new, empty QT movie).

5. When the (very painful) file copy finishes (this can take for friggin EVER -- this whole file-drag, finder-copy part of this process is very, very old school; like we're back in the days of System 9), your QT file will have been 'filled' with converted DPX files and be ready to go. Just eject the Volume that FrameLink created and you're good to go.

It's unbelievably painless and useful and idiot-proof. As I said, I don't know why the praises of this what-will-become indespensable tool aren't sung louder and wider. This is a major step forward from the After Effects conversions I was doing. I have come across countless folks that have never heard of FrameLink, don't know what it does, and wonder how I've created such perfect DPX from QT.

Could the tool use some serious help? YES!

1. It DESPERATELY needs to have an option that enables you to select a folder where all your DPX files are from which to make your QT file. It is crazy that you have to manually select tens of thousands of DPX files in the Finder and drag them to the destination. Even on my 3GHz Quad Mac-Pro this is almost undoably painful. The Finder takes forever to just 'prepare to copy' the files. Once the system is done 'preparing to copy' it then performs the actual copy at the slowest pace of any file copy you will ever do... like the files were being copied to an external USB drive that's already almost full. I don't know what overhead is going on, but you can actually count the DPX files being copies it's so slow, even from raid to raid.

2. FrameLink creates a scratch file on your startup drive so you're limited to the free space of your startup for the size of your QT file. This is a major fail. Who has a TB free on their startup? So you'll have to arbitrarily break your project into perhaps very small segments in order to make this work (maybe it was only intended for folks making commercials).

However, even with these two major drawbacks, it is the most reliable, consistent, and mistake-proof way to convert QT to DPX and back again. Try it, you'll (mostly) love it. Just let it run while you get lunch, dinner, or sleep. :-)

- Frank Laughlin
Digitonium


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Margus Voll
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on May 6, 2009 at 4:54:40 pm

Sounds almost perfect :)

I'll check it out later today as i have material waiting to be converted in shake ;)

I consider it seriously helpfull.

I hope my multibridge could play this dpx stuff back one day
natively wo qt wrapper.

Thanks for the info.

It is really good selling point i'd say and it should be shouted out more.



--

Margus

http://iconstudios.eu


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Frank Laughlin
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on May 6, 2009 at 6:20:52 pm

Amen!

- Frank Laughlin
Digitonium


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Margus Voll
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on May 6, 2009 at 6:43:12 pm

Hi again.

My link does not mount.

It has done that some time ago but not today.

Eny ideas?



--

Margus

http://iconstudios.eu


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Frank Laughlin
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on May 6, 2009 at 7:09:33 pm

Sorry. Don't know what you mean by 'My link does not mount'. Can you clarify?

- Frank Laughlin
Digitonium


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Margus Voll
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on May 6, 2009 at 7:11:17 pm

After i create empty mov it just does not mount funnel as you sayed.



--

Margus

http://iconstudios.eu


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Frank Laughlin
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on May 6, 2009 at 7:20:14 pm

I'm using 'funnel' as a symbolic analogy.

- Open FrameLink.
- Set your settings; click 'Create'
- Give your new QT movie a name, and choose the location; click 'Create Movie'

A .mov file will be created on the volume you've chosen in step 3 above, and a Volume will be created on your desktop (it will look like another hard drive) with the same name as the .mov file. That new Volume is what I'm calling the 'funnel'. You drop your DPX files on the Volume/funnel/icon on your desktop and that fills the .mov file that has been created on the drive you specified in step 3 with the media.

What I'm detailing is all on Mac, I have no idea how this works on a PC.

Hope that helps.

- Frank Laughlin
Digitonium


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Priyanka kadam
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on Jun 28, 2011 at 11:44:53 am

Sir im working on a similar kind of project which you have already created ie; Converting 10bit .dpx sequence files to Quick time ,
we are using JAVA for coding , im able to convert .jpg files to quick time , please kindly guide me !!

help me :
1) how to take .dpx files as input stream
2) how to take these files in sequence
3) how to process them and convert into qt

regards;
Priyanka


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Neil Sadwelkar
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on Jul 2, 2011 at 2:22:34 am

Priyanka,

I'm not sure I know the answer to your question as I'm not a Java programmer. The subject of this thread has been about Blackmagic Framelink and using that to convert DPX sequences to Quicktime. A lot has happened in this world since 2009 when this thread started.

Framelink does not exist as a product. Nor even does Color. Though you can find systems with Apple Color for some time now.

If you have a large requirement on converting DPX to QT, why not just send it out to a post facility near you that has Color installed. They can do the conversion in their spare time and hand you QT movies.

-----------------------------------
Neil Sadwelkar
neilsadwelkar.blogspot.com
twitter: fcpguru
FCP Editor, Edit systems consultant
Mumbai India


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Frank Laughlin
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on May 6, 2009 at 6:19:34 pm

Hi Kristian. Thanks for the info! And the incredibly vital tool.

You've solved the mystery AND provided me with a feature request: Don't use the startup disc for the scratch file. Let me choose the location for the scratch file as a preference, like choosing a scratch disc for Photoshop.

I'm guessing FrameLink was envisioned as a tool for commercial production, or special effects, where a very limited number of DPX files were being created or used as a source. But I'm doing restoration work on an entire film - repairing damage, dustbusting, and color correcting - which means I need to move 164,544 frames between QT and DPX. I had broken the film into 15 minute 'reels' (21,600 frames in each) and had no comparable problem going from QT to DPX (though I do have a suggestion there, too; see below), but have hit the wall coming back to QT because of this startup disc free space limitation.

Any chance you can make the temp storage FrameLink uses be an assignable preference really, really soon? :-)

DPX used to be a rather rarified format reserved for a distinct end of the production business, but as great products like Blackmagic make 10-bit 444 or 2k very workable on the desktop, DPX is going to become very common and very needed, IMHO. The ease with which one can make the conversion (after we wipe out the copy speeds and filesize limitations) could make FrameLink THE pivotal tool in the process. Every person to whom I've introduced FrameLink acts like they've witnessed a miracle.

And, while I'm at it... :-)

The other MAJOR feature request is to add the ability to choose a folder full of DPX from which to make the QT file. In the same 'Create New Movie As...' dialog box that allows me to choose the 'Where' location to create the new QT, should then allow me to chose the 'From' source folder that holds the DPX. It would be BLISS! :-)

I've been a Blackmagic user from my first Decklink card, which I joyously purchased to dump my Avid (had many financial problems with Avid) many years ago. I just purchased a Multibridge Eclipse in December and am in the final stages of completing the restoration of a classic '70s hit 'Billy Jack' (which will have it's restored world premiere as part of the LA Film Festival June 21). Blackmagic has been pivotal in making this restoration happen at the highest quality levels.

- Frank Laughlin
Digitonium


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Margus Voll
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on May 6, 2009 at 6:31:16 pm

I second to that as BM fan :)

Stuff works and results are super :)

FrameLink us more please!



--

Margus

http://iconstudios.eu


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Neil Sadwelkar
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on May 7, 2009 at 5:12:08 pm

Two possible fixes to your 165,000 files copy. I've been through this too. For feature film DI projects.

I use terminal to copy. Its simple.

Open a terminal window.

On the command line...
Just type 'cp -nv' and press space
then drag the source folder into the terminal window
so the full path appears in the terminal
pres 'space'
Then drag the Framelink volume to the terminal window
so the Framelink path appears after the source path.
Press enter
Copying starts and you get a confirmation for each file that's written

You can open multiple terminal windows and copy different ranges simultaneously
as long as they are in different folders.

If you want to stop the copy press ctrl-C

If the copying stops for any reason
Open a terminal window
press the up arrow so the last command is retyped automatically in the terminal
Press enter
Copying again only writes files not previously written.
So 'cp -nv' behaves like resume the second time around

Another alternative is to divide the entire 1,65,000 seq of frames into folders of under 30000 files.
Use Apple Color to do the conversion from DPX to QT
Its faster than Shake and even does lof to lin, color correction, and scaling/sizing.
Divide into 30000 files folders is because Color doesn't like timelines over 20 mins.

I used Framelink a lot until Color came out.

I also use GlueTools and Pomfort. But both cost. Color is free.

Neil

FCP Editor, Mumbai, India.
Completely PAL.


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Frank Laughlin
Re: FrameLink - DPX to QuickTime... and avoiding the Finder copy
on May 7, 2009 at 6:40:18 pm

Thanks, Neil! Great idea. Don't know why I didn't think of Terminal.

I couldn't get the steps you list to work. No files were copied. In going through your steps, I've got two questions:

- what does the '-nv' mean in your first command line entry 'cp -nv'? I can't find 'n' or 'v' as options for the 'cp' command.

- does there need to be a '*' at the end of the source folder to tell it to copy all files?

Thanks!

- Frank Laughlin
Digitonium


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