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Anhtu Vu
Smoke and HDV workflow
on Jan 22, 2011 at 3:06:46 am

Has anyone here used Smoke with footage coming from an HDV camera, the Sony HVR-V1U to be precise. i'm having all kinds of weird timing issue from clips transcoded to prores coming from the Sony shot in HDV 1080i60_29.97.



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Hans von Sonntag
Re: Smoke and HDV workflow
on Jan 24, 2011 at 10:20:34 am

Maybe I have an answer for your problem because we had similar issues.

Smoke on Mac loves straight 1080p and hates anything that uses funky HD formats such as 1400 x 1080 and none square pixels. Encoding to ProRes leads always to straight 1080p which Smoke likes.

I would either transcode to ProResHQ or ProRes4444. The latter one is 12 bit RGB while the HQ flavour is 422 10bit YUV. ProRes4444 is great if you wish to use other RGB based programs such as Nuke or Shake because ProRes4444 does NOT introduce gamma shifts. But for your task 10bit 422 ProResHQ will be more meaningful.

Smoke has an inferior batch renderer and hardly existing transcoding abilities to web codecs. Therefore, you need a batch renderer with tons of codecs and formats to choose from anyway. We normally use Episode for that.

However, we are not able to render with Episode usable ProRes files for conforming in Smoke. We spent quite a time to sort that out. The XML loaded but we could not reconnect to it properly. We also had sound issues, Smoke did not recognize the sound in the ProRes files.

Finally we tried Apple compressor as a batch renderer for transcoding the HDV footage to ProRes and, voilĂ , it worked as expected.

This is what we did to make the conform as easy as it gets:

1. Open the HDV project in FCP.

2. With Media Manager consolidate the project.

3. Import the HDV footage of the consolidated project into compressor. Choose ProResHQ from the template using your TC and FPS seettings. If you want the footage to be progressive anyway you may want to deinterlace it already in Compressor. Deinterlacing in Smoke works well but has to render.

4. Create a new directory and import all other assets you may need for your project (tiffs, PSDs, aiff, etc...) into this directory. Give it a meaningful name such as "prores_conform".

3. Set the timeline properties to ProRes HQ, now the timeline is "wrong" for the HDV codec, you see a red bar on top of the timeline.

4. Reconnect the footage to the freshly rendered ProRes HQ files. Now the red bar in the timeline must be gone, except when effects are added in the footage. Some times we encounter a bug in this regard, because the timeline in FCP still exhibits a red bar. To solve this copy all assets if the time line, create a new time line, copy a single ProRes shot into the timeline, a window pops up and asks wether you want to change the settings, hit OK, delete the ProRes clip and paste the project into the timeline.

5. Create an XML and save it into the "prores_conform" folder where all the needed footage resides.

6. In Smoke create a library and import via Wire Tap the ProRes footage. Then drag the XML into the same library and you conform is done, apart from PSD's and such which have to be imported separately and conformed by hand (at leas for me).

Hope that helps.

Hans


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Anhtu Vu
Re: Smoke and HDV workflow
on Jan 24, 2011 at 8:00:31 pm

Wow thank you so much, great info.

I manage to get it to work...here's what i did:

1-Capture Sony's Native format (1080i60_29.97) in FCP using the Easy set up HDV 1080i_60.
2-Edit then media manage the final session to Prores,
3-export an EDL ( i find Smoke deals much better with EDL compare to XML ).
4- Import EDL in Smoke with ''Store Local Copy'' enable, this way Smoke is generating DPX file from the EDL instead of referencing to the original Prores media.

In my opinion, Smoke's workflow with Prores is not ready for prime time yet, still too many workarounds and bugs.



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Hans von Sonntag
Re: Smoke and HDV workflow
on Jan 24, 2011 at 9:46:34 pm

"3-export an EDL ( i find Smoke deals much better with EDL compare to XML ).

4- Import EDL in Smoke with ''Store Local Copy'' enable, this way Smoke is generating DPX file from the EDL instead of referencing to the original Prores media.

In my opinion, Smoke's workflow with Prores is not ready for prime time yet, still too many workarounds and bugs."

Please elaborate. I find ProRes and XML from FCP as easy as it gets, plus you have most DVE effects already transferred into Axis soft effects and even Text is there.

Hard importing a project, meaning to transcode the footage to DPX, takes quite long. And please bare in mind that you don't gain anything quality-wise. Transcoding to DPX and then adding an effect, say colour correction, is the same as adding the effect to the ProRes imported file and then render internally to a DPX render file. In both cases you transcode to DPX off a ProRes file with an effect added.

Hans


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