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RAW Image vs. Image in AE

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Robby Monk
RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jun 13, 2014 at 3:08:21 pm

I haven't been too happy with my final product and am trying to trace back to what could be the problem. When I shoot the footage, it looks really sharp on my field monitor. I'm happy with it. When I view the raw footage on my computer, it looks the same - really good. However, as soon as I import it to AE, it drops in quality.

I am viewing it at "Full". I have included a photo of a side by side of what I am talking about. One is the RAW footage and the other is the footage in AE?

I initially thought the quality drop was how I was exporting (render - lossless - QuickTime). Any tips on what I should be doing there are welcomed as well.



I appreciate any help. What am I doing wrong here?


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EricBowen
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jun 13, 2014 at 5:15:01 pm

What do you have the color space set to for output. Are you on Windows and if so can you export to AVI Lossless?

Eric-ADK
Tech Manager
support@adkvideoediting.com


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Robby Monk
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jun 13, 2014 at 6:23:01 pm

Hey Eric,
Below is a screen grab to answer your first question (I hope!). And, yes, I am using Windows. I can export to AVI. I've always exported straight to QuickTime. Is that not the correct way of doing it? It just seems like it is compressing my images, even as soon as I import into AE. Pretty frustrating.



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EricBowen
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jun 13, 2014 at 6:50:32 pm

What colorspace are you outputting when you create the Quicktime file? What colorspace did you want to output? Right now the work colorspace is off. Quicktime lossless is not always the best output for Windows AE. I suggest using AVI lossless and checking to see what the difference looks like. Avoid PNG right now on output when you can on Windows because the performance for threading is poor.

Eric-ADK
Tech Manager
support@adkvideoediting.com


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Robby Monk
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jun 13, 2014 at 6:54:51 pm

Thanks for your help Eric. I'm afraid I'm not sure when it comes to colorspace.

Also, once I output to AVI lossless, what do I then do to the file? Do I take it to Media Encoder and do anything with it?


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EricBowen
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jun 13, 2014 at 7:39:05 pm
Last Edited By EricBowen on Jun 13, 2014 at 7:41:09 pm

What were you doing with the Quicktime files? I assumed those were going to Premiere.

BTW read this on AE colorspace and control
http://helpx.adobe.com/en/after-effects/using/color-management.html

Eric-ADK
Tech Manager
support@adkvideoediting.com


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Robby Monk
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jun 14, 2014 at 7:30:26 pm

I'm not using Premiere at all. All my work is from Camera to AE.


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Walter Soyka
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jun 16, 2014 at 2:31:11 pm

What is the "RAW footage" from? How are you viewing the "RAW footage" for this comparison?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Robby Monk
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jun 16, 2014 at 2:44:45 pm

The raw footage is coming from my SanDisk Card. It opens in windows media player.


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Walter Soyka
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jun 16, 2014 at 4:23:52 pm

[Robby Monk] "The raw footage is coming from my SanDisk Card. It opens in windows media player."

What kind of footage is it? When you saw "RAW" with all capital letters, that means something that I think you might not intend:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_image_format

After Effects, Windows Media Player, and QuickTime all render color differently. You will not see the same thing in all three of these applications.

Even if you choose to use color management as Eric has outlined, and even if you profile your monitor, you will not guarantee color-accurate playback in non-managed applications like Windows Media Player or QuickTime Player.

If you are unhappy with the look of the footage in Ae, you can manipulate it with the effects in the Color Correction category. It looks to me like a bit of an S-curve adjustment with the Curves effect will get you closer in Ae to what you are seeing in WMP.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Robby Monk
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jun 16, 2014 at 4:42:28 pm

Thanks Walter! I think the thing that concerns me most isn't the color, it's the quality that looks like it has dropped. It looks a bit more pixalated in AE than when I'm looking at it in Windows Media Player (straight off the disk). It's like it is compressing the footage when I put it in AE.


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Walter Soyka
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jun 16, 2014 at 6:25:30 pm

[Robby Monk] " I think the thing that concerns me most isn't the color, it's the quality that looks like it has dropped. It looks a bit more pixalated in AE than when I'm looking at it in Windows Media Player (straight off the disk). It's like it is compressing the footage when I put it in AE."

Gotcha. What are your the zoom and resolution settings for your viewer panel in Ae? Can you post a screenshot of your full Ae UI?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Kazuo Honda
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jun 29, 2014 at 8:24:34 pm

[Robby Monk] "The raw footage is coming from my SanDisk Card. It opens in windows media player."

What kind of footage is it? When you saw "RAW" with all capital letters, that means something that I think you might not intend:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_image_format

After Effects, Windows Media Player, and QuickTime all render color differently. You will not see the same thing in all three of these applications.


You are absolutely right. All viewers that show JPEGS display them differently. If you want to actually see the RAW, you need to look at it with a program that actually shows RAW. To my knowledge, there is so far only one program on the market that shows real RAW at high speeds. That is FastRawViewer: it's a beta-mode program developed specifically to display real RAW and real RAW histogram, as well as give you some tools for technical analysis. Incidentally, I know of no other program that shows actual RAW histograms or even works at this speed - believe me, I've tried a wide variety.


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Walter Soyka
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jul 3, 2014 at 2:02:21 pm

[Kazuo Honda] "All viewers that show JPEGS display them differently. If you want to actually see the RAW, you need to look at it with a program that actually shows RAW."

RAW is just raw sensor data; it is not an actual image format, so there is no real definitive view.

RAW workflow is somewhat analogous to traditional photography in that an exposure must be developed before it can be seen.

The sensor data needs to be interpreted into an image ("developed"), so different RAW viewers may also yield strikingly different results (due to using different algorithms and different default "developing" parameters).

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Kazuo Honda
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jul 4, 2014 at 10:16:39 pm

I actually avoided using the word “image”, because using that in relation to the word “number” makes things get a little fuzzy.

If we go by the chain of logic of RAW giving no definitive view, then no format can give you a definitive view, because such a view does not even exist – a JPEG is just a collection of bits. The same JPEG will not be displayed the same way on two different monitors, or possibly even perceived the same way on one single monitor, depending on, for instance, the amount of ambient light in the room or the amount of coffee that one has consumed.

But even more, do we even need this definitive view? It doesn’t matter if we show the same image – two different people will react to it differently, because they have different criteria for its merits.

This can be likened to music. RAW data is like the sheet music for a song, while every other processing (development) is an artist’s rendition. Could you say that Joshua Bell preforming Debussy’s The Girl With the Flaxen Hair is the same thing as Heifetz preforming it?

If you put two people in a room, listening to a live performance of somebody playing this piece, even if we managed to put them under the exact same conditions, down to somehow magically making it so they have the same seat, they’ll still experience it differently. Maybe one of them has perfect pitch and can hear that some slight notes are out of key and the other person can’t. Maybe one of them has studied music for 30 years, and disagrees with the interpretation, while the other just likes the pretty sounds.

With RAW, we don’t need a definitive view. What we need is an estimation of composition and technical quality that we can work with.

How can you evaluate the exposure of a JPEG when the camera has already artificially raised it by, sometimes, as much as a couple of stops? How can you evaluate the shadows when they have been plugged? The highlights when they’ve been clipped? The focus when the image has been automatically sharpened?

That is what makes FastRawViewer, in my opinion, so useful. It doesn’t just offer a perception – it offers technical data, and the tools for technical analysis which help to shoot better.


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Walter Soyka
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jul 7, 2014 at 4:03:20 pm

[Kazuo Honda] "If we go by the chain of logic of RAW giving no definitive view, then no format can give you a definitive view, because such a view does not even exist – a JPEG is just a collection of bits. The same JPEG will not be displayed the same way on two different monitors, or possibly even perceived the same way on one single monitor, depending on, for instance, the amount of ambient light in the room or the amount of coffee that one has consumed."

Image formats like JPEG or TIFF or PSD literally define an image: a set of pixels of specific colors. RAW stores data read from an imaging sensor that is not in image itself, but must be interpreted into an image. The RAW data must be processed into an image format to be displayed (like a photographic negative being printed).

Color management is a solvable problem. RAW adds an additional layer of complexity, as your RAW workflow is subject to all the color management constraints PLUS all the variability in processing required for RAW.

It also adds enormous flexibility.


[Kazuo Honda] "This can be likened to music. RAW data is like the sheet music for a song, while every other processing (development) is an artist’s rendition. Could you say that Joshua Bell preforming Debussy’s The Girl With the Flaxen Hair is the same thing as Heifetz preforming it? "

This is a nice analogy. Following it, these performances/recordings are like JPEG.

But this goes back to my original point about RAW: unlike a processed image, there is not a definitive view.

But all of this is a digression, as Robby is not a photographer shooting RAW, and his workflow challenges are not allayed by FastRawViewer.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Kazuo Honda
Re: RAW Image vs. Image in AE
on Jul 10, 2014 at 6:25:12 pm

RAW being not an image is a very popular view, but in many ways it is a misconception.
Let’s consider two things.
First, TIFF or JPEG are also open to interpretation, in two ways. In order to interpret JPEG or TIFF, we need metadata, such as color profiles, for example. We need metadata even to know if this TIFF is RGB, LAB, CMY, or something else. We also need algorithms, that is, external knowledge of the format, to decompress a TIFF, to render YCC to RGB in the case of a JPEG, to know what sort of LAB coding was used (because there are more than one), to process layers, masks and channels correctly, etc. The point is, not all the information we need to interpret a format is contained in the file and we can’t interpret a file correctly without use of metadata.

The second thing to keep in mind is that we post-process images, be it TIFF, JPEG, or any other format which you suggest has a “definitive view.” Any image is open to interpretation – not only a RAW image. If I feel like my TIFF file has shadows plugged, I can assign a different gamma to it, and open the shadows, thus overriding the metadata. If I see that the image looks better in sRGB, while it is tagged as Adobe RGB, I can assign sRGB to the image, once again overriding the metadata. RAW image also has metadata and makernote (which are a part of metadata) that go with the image. Metadata/makernote contain definite instructions for image rendition. This metadata and some documentation, which is not as available, as in the case of the TIFF format, is what is used to display a RAW image.

Most of the differences between the interpretations of the RAW file are in the demosaicking algorithms and color transforms. However, all demosaicking algorithms currently in use are well documented, and they do not affect the conversion that much. Those algorithms are responsible only for minute details, like moiré, edge artifacts, and “image sharpness” (acutance). I select my RAW converter based on those differences. One can liken various demosaicking algorithms to different implementations of the same codec.
Color transforms are much more important, but, CFA is a physical object with definite properties, silicon has a well-known spectral response curve, and thus the proper color transform can be definitely calculated.

The above together mean that the difference is mostly in the documentation available, but there is no essential difference between RAW (which actually is either TIFFs or a variation of lossless or even lossy JPEG coding inside) and “true” TIFF or JPEG.

Color management is not a magic bullet that kills all problems. It can’t compensate for differences in color vision, state of mind, amount of coffee, fatigue, changes in ambient light, change in the angle of view (your client looking over your shoulder doesn’t see the same image that you do, and not only because of his color vision is different, but also because he is looking at it from a different angle of view) etc. Any person who ever compared different sheets from a long press, say a sheet number of one thousand to a sheet number of three thousand, can see a substantial difference, because of the stability of the printing press. This of course doesn’t mean that color management is useless. It just means that there is no definitive view even with proper color management.

As to your final statement of this being a digression, perhaps, but you seem to have no issue with discussing it, and it is an interesting topic, so why not continue? ☺


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