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Smoke & FCP....

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Daniel Net
Smoke & FCP....
on May 6, 2008 at 11:47:47 am

I’m meeting with a couple of sales guys in a couple of day about buying a couple of smoke machines to go into our FCP work flow. I want to use them to finish our shows. The one main question that I think I will have is.... Will smoke take my ProRess (HQ) 422 files. All of our cameras that we shot on are the Sony F700 and F350 XDCAM HDs. We ingest them using that Sony Transfer software... From what I have been told the XDCAM stuff will go straight into smoke, no re digitizing required. We do have a large library of up converted Digibeta tapes and HDCAM tapes all using the ProRess (HQ) 422 Codec.

I don’t have the storage right now to support uncompressed HD, and I don’t mined the quality of the ProRess. I just have the time right now to change out our san.

The next part to my question is... On the work flow, would I just use the smoke machine to burn off my master tapes? Or dump out a Quicktime file and use a FCP station... If it was burning off a tape using a FCP station then what codec would I use... Uncompressed, ProRess??? I know that I probable shouldn’t be taking about compressing my final from smoke, but I’m thinking about data archiving and backups...


Thanx for any thoughts....

dan.


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Del Holford
Re: Smoke & FCP....
on May 6, 2008 at 2:24:55 pm

[Daniel Net] "I don’t have the storage right now to support uncompressed HD, and I don’t mined the quality of the ProRess. I just have the time right now to change out our san. "

smoke is an uncompressed system (from ingest to export) and requires a lot of storage to work properly (about 1.5 Tb comes with it and 16 Gb RAM helps although it will work with 8 Gb RAM). It is an elegantly integrated timeline based software/hardware system but it is difficult to learn. It only took a few days to use it but it took me over a year to become fully comfortable with all the plug-ins and shortcuts. Learning its system quirks can take another 6 months to a year. To finish an 8 bit 4:2:2 hour high definition program you need about 2.3 Tb of storage. I say this based on the amount of effects, timewarps, color correction, text and other features you will use in smoke. For every minute of program you can easily generate three times that in additional material to support that minute. smoke has excellent quality and works in 4:4:4 RGB at either 8 or 10 bit resolution.

I think the Autodesk salesmen can answer your questions but I would question why you want to buy smoke. You can finish anything you do in Final Cut Studio 2 and keep it in ProRes422 until you get ready to lay off to tape for airing or make a QT for other distribution. You can work in high definition from start to finish in ProRes 422 if you have 1.2 Tb local storage and about 8Gb RAM. It may be marginally slower than smoke but it costs a lot less. The integration with Motion and Color has improved and will continue to improve. Eventually I think you will be able to work in 4:4:4 10 bit without time and storage penalties as well. If you spend your money on more storage instead of new systems you will be set for several years.

These are my observations and subject rebuttal by those whose experience is different than mine. HTH

Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS3
Charlotte Public Television
del underscore edits at wtvi dot org


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moody glasgow
Re: Smoke & FCP....
on May 6, 2008 at 4:28:38 pm

I agree with Del, to an extent. The first thing that jumped out was why? I assume you have clients that are demanding you get a Smoke, or they are just demanding in general. I know Smoke 2009 has better Quicktime support, especially for P2 format (DVCPro HD), but I'm not sure about ProRes.
On a side note, about what Del said about Color being "integrated" in Final Cut Studio... Well, Color is vers.1 software... Some would say it is beta software with all the issues of round tripping from FCP to Color.
Smoke still is hands down the best editing/compositing software around.

moody glasgow
smoke artist / editor


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Dan Nethery
Re: Smoke & FCP....
on May 6, 2008 at 5:38:30 pm

We are hoping to bring the quality of the shows up, and speed up the whole render thing... Right now a 19 minute show is taking about 6 hours to render in FCP... We do a lot of basic compositing using using Blurs (Defocus) and mattes. We also build and fix a lot of stuff in After effects. When it comes to Color stuff. Its an overnight render on 3 to 4 machines... I'm rendering them out by segments. Then re combing the render files from the san on to one machine... Our san is pretty fast, and our computers are the latest and greatest from january of this year.

The render time isn't the only thing. I need the highest quality possible on the rendered effects. Right now our stuff looks great, but we need our stuff to be incredible. I can afford to render my stuff our from Smoke uncompressed and burn out to tape with FCP (uncompressed). I'm just wanting the shows to finish faster and look cleaner and better...

You guys can tell me that I'm barking up the wrong tree... your not going to hurt my feelings.


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moody glasgow
Re: Smoke & FCP....
on May 6, 2008 at 8:09:54 pm

Yeah, rendering in Color is one of its major drawbacks... Same with FCP. You will be much happier with your render times on a Smoke.
Since you want to take your work to the next level, then the Smoke is definitely the way to go.
One workflow you might want to try is this: Once you have a finished sequence in FCP, use media manager to recompress the sequence uncompressed, then send the files and an XML file to the Smoke and relink.
Also, you can burn out to tape on the Smoke.


moody glasgow
smoke artist / editor


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Dan Labute
Re: Smoke & FCP....
on May 6, 2008 at 11:31:02 pm

Hi Dan,

A couple of answers / clarifications:

Smoke 2009 (just released) is a continuation of our effort to improve the all-important FCP-Smoke workflow to allow Smoke to "take-over" an FCP timeline without duplicating media and without generation loss. The two aspects we focused on in v2008 were to improve codec support, and extend the metadata compatibility. The road is still a bit bumpy but manageable once you learn the ropes.

Specifically on the codec front, we added the ability to soft-import (link to) external QT and P2 MXF files without importing and consuming space on your storage. Native XDCAM support is not yet available. ProRes support is also not included simply because Apple refuses to open up support for their codec.

Finally regarding rendering performance, you may want to ask your salesman about Burn (Smoke's background renderer) ... which allows you to continue working while your complex timeline renders out.

HTH,

Dan Labute
Autodesk M&E R&D


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Bruno Sargeant
Re: Smoke & FCP....
on May 7, 2008 at 10:42:01 pm

Hi Daniel (Net)

Following up on Dan Labute's comments

The workflow for conforming in Smoke from FCP is covered in the online training videos. Please select Smoke 2009 New Features and select the clip “Soft Import Workflow for Streaming Media”

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=123112&id=7932003&linkID=...

All the best

Bruno



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Javier Mendez Karam
Re: Smoke & FCP....
on Jun 4, 2008 at 3:22:16 pm

If you need to have XDCAM integration with Smoke right now, you can check out this video:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6251940966655482162&q=cinesys&ei=s...






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David Ghast
Re: Smoke & FCP....
on Aug 11, 2008 at 12:20:07 am

How exactly were you planning on getting your files across incompatible partitions? You plan on keeping all your files under 4gb and using fat32? Once you begin a project on a mac, apple has you by the balls.



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moody glasgow
Re: Smoke & FCP....
on Aug 11, 2008 at 5:03:22 pm

[David Ghast] "How exactly were you planning on getting your files across incompatible partitions? You plan on keeping all your files under 4gb and using fat32? Once you begin a project on a mac, apple has you by the balls."

Apple does not have me by the balls. They kick me in the balls from time to time, but thats about it... :) On a Smoke, it is fairly easy to mount a mac volume over a network. In fact, we have an XSAN that serves our FCP rooms, and I have a mount point on it for the Smoke, and on a daily basis I send and receive files to the XSAN from my Smoke.

We are not using FAT32 either, so we have no 4GB file limits...



moody glasgow
smoke artist / editor


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