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Vegas Pro 12 and Canon DSLR workflow

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Chris Morley
Vegas Pro 12 and Canon DSLR workflow
on Mar 26, 2014 at 1:19:38 pm

I'm editing 5d mk iii, and 550d footage in Pro 12 and have recently stopped transcoding to Cineform after upgrading to a PC that can edit the footage natively. I've noticed that a lot of the blacks in the footage fall below zero on the waveform, whereas before (when i was transcoding) they didn't). I've read up a bit on the reasons why this is but can't find a clear answer as to how to set up my project in order to ensure that what I render out is exactly what i see in the preview window.

Does anyone have experience with this workflow and can you tell me how you set up your projects? 8 or 32 bit? any conversion filters etc etc?

Many thanks

Chris.



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Norman Black
Re: Vegas Pro 12 and Canon DSLR workflow
on Mar 26, 2014 at 6:16:49 pm

Canon/Nikon/Panasonic/other DSLRs all record with full range AVC data, and they flag this as such in the AVC stream in a VUI option flag. This is also true for GoPro.

In the Cineform conversion the AVC input is being normalized to a studio RGB 16-235 output range. They can do this reliably because of the VUI option flag in the AVC stream.

When you input directly into Vegas, you get exact data recorded in the data stream completely unaltered.

Therefore you would require studio RGB output for encoding, and this is the normal case. You will need to add a levels adjustment from computer to studio RGB. If you want to try and use the extra range you can use custom levels and/or curves adjustments to go from full range to studio range.

With the studio Cineform files the Vegas preview window will be flat compared to playback of typical encodes player in a video player. With full range the preview looks good, but encodes will crush blacks and clip highs.


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Chris Morley
Re: Vegas Pro 12 and Canon DSLR workflow
on Mar 26, 2014 at 9:33:04 pm

Hi there. Many thanks for the reply. So basically I need to use a levels preset to normalise the footage. Does this mean that I'll be getting rid of some of the information in the file? If so, I guess nobody will really notice! :-)

Thanks again for the reply.



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Norman Black
Re: Vegas Pro 12 and Canon DSLR workflow
on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:59:38 pm

By putting a computer to studio levels adjust on the media you are losing some levels information since the 0-255 range is being squished into 16-235. Those losses should be negligible, meaning not visible.

You were also losing those levels when using Cineform also when you are editing in a normal 8-bit project. Cineform is 10-bit and it might preserve a little more, but that technical detail is above my pay grade. You could ask GoPro.

If GoPro says that more info is preserved, with an 8-bit 0-255 converted to a 10-bit studio range, then a 32-bit project is the only way to preserve that, and it gets lost again when you render to a normal final destination.


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Chris Morley
Re: Vegas Pro 12 and Canon DSLR workflow
on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:23:47 am
Last Edited By Chris Morley on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:26:59 am

Thanks Norman.

So, in order to get the most out of the footage, in terms of grading capability, quality of final output, and in order to ensure i'm rendering out the same video that i'm seeing in the preview window, do i need to do the following in Vegas?..

1) Use 32 bit projects instead of 8 bit.
2) Apply a Sony Levels preset (or tweak manually).

Sorry about my apparent ignorance on this subject but I find that I 'know' something deeply technical for a few weeks but then it soon gets forgotten amongst the more pressing needs like earning a living and getting projects finished for clients!! Thankfully there are people like you around to help out!

Cheers

Chris.



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Chris Morley
Re: Vegas Pro 12 and Canon DSLR workflow
on Mar 27, 2014 at 10:46:43 am

Thanks Norman.

So, in order to get the most out of the footage, in terms of grading capability, quality of final output, and in order to ensure i'm rendering out the same video that i'm seeing in the preview window, do i need to do the following in Vegas?..

1) Use 32 bit projects instead of 8 bit.
2) Apply a Sony Levels preset (or tweak manually).

Sorry about my apparent ignorance on this subject but I find that I 'know' something deeply technical for a few weeks but then it soon gets forgotten amongst the more pressing needs like earning a living and getting projects finished for clients!! Thankfully there are people like you around to help out!

Cheers

Chris.



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Norman Black
Re: Vegas Pro 12 and Canon DSLR workflow
on Mar 27, 2014 at 5:00:26 pm
Last Edited By Norman Black on Mar 27, 2014 at 5:14:54 pm

[Chris Morley] "1) Use 32 bit projects instead of 8 bit."

Should not be necessary. Mathematically there could be gain, but I doubt it is worth the effort. As previously stated, determining what gain there might be is above my pay grade.

Also, remember that your final encode destination is likely an 8-bit studio video levels format.

You can always switch back and forth between 8 and 32-bit project properties at will. Edit in 8 and grade and render in 32-bit.

[Chris Morley] "2) Apply a Sony Levels preset (or tweak manually). "

With Canon DSLR footage you will need this to get to studio video levels.

If you apply this to your media/track/events then the preview window will look a little flatter in contrast, just like with your Cineform AVI files which are in studio levels. You are displaying 16-235 video on a 0-255 monitor.

If you have a secondary preview device the video prefs have an option for that to apply a studio to computer levels adjust for that specific display device.

For the video preview window, we sadly do not have that option so we typically put a studio to computer levels adjust on the output fx while editing and take it off when rendering.

I recently came across a utility to automate this process for me.
http://vegasvideo.de/extension-previewlevels-en.html

Understand that video players on PCs normally take 16-235 video and expand that to 0-255 for display on computer monitors.


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Chris Morley
Re: Vegas Pro 12 and Canon DSLR workflow
on Mar 27, 2014 at 8:35:44 pm

Thanks again. So I need to put the levels filter on the events (to convert to studio), AND the reverse levels filter on the preview monitor to, in effect, cancel out the aforementioned conversion (for viewing purposes). I then get the look I want on screen and remove the preview filter before rendering? Is that right? I'm currently working on a project with some AVCHD footage on the timeline too. I take it you just remove preview monitor filter when grading that footage?



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Norman Black
Re: Vegas Pro 12 and Canon DSLR workflow
on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:44:52 pm
Last Edited By Norman Black on Mar 27, 2014 at 10:17:35 pm

You can put a computer to studio levels fx on individual events but it is probably easier to put it on specific media as needed as a media fx. If you have one event or a hundred from the media they all get the same adjustment.

As for your other camera AVCHD footage, does that need an adjustment or is it studio levels already. Be aware that many video cameras that supposedly capture studio video levels actually capture a 16-255 range. You may not care if highs get clipped. Most of the time people online with levels issues are complaining about crushed darks and not the lights.

I suggest a timeline of consistent video levels. If your final encodes need to be studio levels then get everything on the timeline in studio. For the DSLR that has been discussed.

It is just as valid to edit full range and then adjust for your encodes. There is more than one way to go about this. It seems more common to get the video into video levels and then make adjustments for the monitor as necessary for edit playback.

To grade in the preview window, I would grade with the studio to computer levels on the output fx adjustment in place. The video preview window is not accurate unless it gets full range data. The only time that fx comes off is to render your output file.


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