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Joe Murray
advice on working with "4K HD" vs standard Red 4K files
on Aug 2, 2009 at 2:07:41 pm

I've done several projects with Red, all shot with the standard Red 4K camera settings, all done successfully using proxies for offline with realtime playback of the medium resolution proxies in Final Cut Pro.

Now I'm working on a project that was shot using a slight crop on the sensor, what I'm being told is the "Red 4K HD" setting on the camera (not Red 4K 16:9), which results in proxies that are a different size than I've used previously. I can't get these to work properly in Final Cut using the same approach as previous projects. They play OK from the desktop, although not at full frame rate, but once I get into Final Cut and either try to view in the source window, the sequence, or via the Kona 3, I can't get them to play properly.

When I try to play the clips in the source viewer, they flash intermittent white frames and drop frames. If I drag them into a sequence and allow the sequence to change to the clip's settings, clips have to be rendered (red bar). The RT menu doesn't even have options for Unlimited RT or Dynamic playback. If I make a 1920 x 1080 ProRes sequence and drop the clips into that sequence, the RT options come back, but even setting to Unlimited doesn't produce realtime playback, in the FCP interface or out via the Kona.

I'm using a CalDigit HDPro RAID 5 with 8 drives that gets over 300 megabytes per second playback and has no problem with uncompressed 10 bit 1080i footage, and no problem with the previous Red 4K footage either. CPU is a year old octocore 2.67. I have trashed FCP prefs, reinstalled the Kona driver, restarted the machine, reset the PRAM, and upgraded Quicktime to 7.6.2.

On the Kona side, I've tried both the 1080i output and 720 59.94. Either of these settings work fine with past Red project.

Proxy details:

medium proxy pixel dimensions:

previous footage: 1024 x 576 new footage: 960 x 540

medium proxy bitrate:

previous footage: 190 mbps new footage: 220 mbps

I appreciate any help on this one. I've tried all kinds of sequence settings combinations of frame rates, frame sizes and Kona settings and can't figure it out. The white papers for Kona don't talk about these frame sizes, and the workflow in that paper does not work.

Thanks in advance-

Joe Murray



Joe Murray
Edit at Joe's
Charlotte, NC


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David Battistella
Re: advice on working with "4K HD" vs standard Red 4K files
on Aug 2, 2009 at 6:06:05 pm

[Joe Murray] "previous footage: 1024 x 576 new footage: 960 x 540 "

Make sure your sequence is not set to SQUARE pixels. A 960 frame size automatically means it's non square pixels.

David




Peace
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http://www.ripperhockey.com


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Joe Murray
Re: advice on working with "4K HD" vs standard Red 4K files
on Aug 3, 2009 at 11:33:55 am

I figured maybe that was part of the problem, that FCP doesn't play square pixels realtime. I did try changing the pixel aspect ratio to D1 and then HD in the sequence settings but still no realtime.

Joe Murray
Edit at Joe's
Charlotte, NC


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Noah Kadner
Re: advice on working with "4K HD" vs standard Red 4K files
on Aug 3, 2009 at 12:20:21 am

Yeah your proxy timeline should be 1920x1080 for use with the _M proxies. Also personally I'd recommend switching over to Log and Transfer to ProRes. Unless you're really under the gun you'll find proxies will ultimately be less stable and reliable than transcoding, albeit faster to start editing with. And now you can conform a proxy edit in FCP into a native R3D correction session in Color using either Clipfinder or CinemaTools, as of FCP 7 that is.

-Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!. Unlock the secrets of the 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio.
Now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, and Panasonic DVX100.
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Joe Murray
Re: advice on working with "4K HD" vs standard Red 4K files
on Aug 3, 2009 at 11:41:13 am

[Noah Kadner] "Yeah your proxy timeline should be 1920x1080 for use with the _M proxies. Also personally I'd recommend switching over to Log and Transfer to ProRes. Unless you're really under the gun you'll find proxies will ultimately be less stable and reliable than transcoding, albeit faster to start editing with.

That's generally what I've read, that my proxy workflow doesn't work well for most people. But it worked so well on the past few projects I thought maybe their problems were due more to system setup or drive speed than inherent problems with the method. I can work with ProRes files of course, but I need to learn how to conform those sequences in Color. Is there good info on this in the Color documentation?

And now you can conform a proxy edit in FCP into a native R3D correction session in Color using either Clipfinder or CinemaTools, as of FCP 7 that is."

In this sentence, when you say "proxy edit" are you referring to the ProRes files as proxies?


Joe Murray
Edit at Joe's
Charlotte, NC


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Noah Kadner
Re: advice on working with "4K HD" vs standard Red 4K files
on Aug 3, 2009 at 4:58:27 pm

No I mean you can actually conform an edit that started as Proxies or started as ProRes into a Native workflow in Color using FCS '09. If you read the white paper on RED's website you'll get some clues.

http://www.red.com/support

-Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!. Unlock the secrets of the 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio.
Now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, and Panasonic DVX100.
http://www.callboxlive.com


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Joe Murray
UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 3, 2009 at 9:34:30 pm

Here's why I can't play the proxies well realtime. Found this in the Red workflow white paper and confirmed the camer was indeed set to MAX. Whatever else that setting does, it also kills realtime playback in FCP:


Turn Off the Cameraʼs MAX Setting Before You Shoot

Thereʼs a checkbox labeled MAX In the PROJECT submenu of the SYSTEM
menu of the RED ONE camera. If youʼre planning on finishing your project using Final Cut Pro and Color, itʼs best to turn this setting off before you begin shooting. Leaving it on may adversely affect real-time performance of RED media in Final Cut Studio.

Thanks for all the input. Pass this on to your DP if you intend to try using proxies inside FCP.




Joe Murray
Edit at Joe's
Charlotte, NC


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David Battistella
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 4, 2009 at 2:45:32 am



That's right Joe. But again, this only applies if you are editing the QT reference movies, not if you are dealing with transcoded media.

Many people will shoot MAX because they want to MAXimun quality, but that means you make it harder to do real time debayer and scaling.

David



Peace
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Joe Murray
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 4, 2009 at 2:49:23 am

[David Battistella] "Many people will shoot MAX because they want to MAXimun quality, but that means you make it harder to do real time debayer and scaling."

Given that this job is ending up in SD anyway, and there are no effects or compositing...is there any reason MAX should have been used, or is it just a case of CYA and complete overkill?


Joe Murray
Edit at Joe's
Charlotte, NC


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David Battistella
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 4, 2009 at 3:24:24 am



"Can I supersize that for you?"

Think of how powerful a suggestion that was for consumers.

Then with RED.

"yeah it has this MAX mode. Do you want to shoot MAX or just "regular". "

You see where I am going?

You'll be hard pressed to get anyone to downgrade from MAX because this film is obviously going to win ten oscars, be blown up to IMAX, be authored to BLUERAY and one day it will end up in the film making hall of fame!!!!

LOL :)

of course I am being cheeky, but you know how people are. ..

David





Peace
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http://www.ripperhockey.com


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Joe Murray
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 4, 2009 at 3:33:37 am

Oh, I get it. If it goes to 10, turn it up to 11. In this case, if I had said to turn off the Max button, they would have. I just didn't know to mention it.

These are regional retail commercials tagged with sales of the week. Very nice looking footage, but not worthy of Max.

But so I can answer the question when I'm asked, under what conditions is the visual difference between Max and Max-less most noticeable? Assuming it even IS noticeable.

Joe Murray
Edit at Joe's
Charlotte, NC


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David Battistella
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 4, 2009 at 3:39:48 am

Joe,

I think all you have to do is say that you are going to have to charge more for MAX because it is adding time to your edit, etc. That is one truth.

I would have to say that MAX would only be noticeable in the highest detailed scenes, with a ton of motion and foliage or something like that. Maybe only switch to MAX in the event of a codec error or something like that.

I'd say for what you are doing that the MAX setting is overkill and adding to the budget for no good reason.

I like the spinal tap reference.

David

Peace
Check out my new web series.
http://www.ripperhockey.com


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Joe Murray
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 4, 2009 at 3:47:02 am

[David Battistella] "I think all you have to do is say that you are going to have to charge more for MAX because it is adding time to your edit, etc."

Ah yes, the budget flag. I just want to also be able to reassure clients that they'll not be losing any critical information by switching Max to off.

Another movie reference...instead of Max, they should label that button Ludicrous.

Joe Murray
Edit at Joe's
Charlotte, NC


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David Battistella
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 4, 2009 at 3:50:45 am

[Joe Murray] "Another movie reference...instead of Max, they should label that button Ludicrous. "

Amen, brother.

David




Peace
Check out my new web series.
http://www.ripperhockey.com


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Kris Anderson
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 4, 2009 at 10:03:15 am

With respect, you're way off on the MAX setting. In post, who are you to try and dictate to the DP how it should be shot? Would you try and tell him he's using the wrong film stock if it were a traditional film shoot? No way. So what makes you think it's ok to do it just because they're shooting data? The clients and projects I edit with would NEVER tolerate this sort of thing.

I love this forum, it's a great place of learning for me but damn, there's some weird attitudes floating around.


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Joe Murray
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 4, 2009 at 1:42:46 pm

[Kris Anderson] "With respect, you're way off on the MAX setting. In post, who are you to try and dictate to the DP how it should be shot? Would you try and tell him he's using the wrong film stock if it were a traditional film shoot? No way. So what makes you think it's ok to do it just because they're shooting data? The clients and projects I edit with would NEVER tolerate this sort of thing.

I love this forum, it's a great place of learning for me but damn, there's some weird attitudes floating around."


With "respect," maybe you should have someone else proof your work before posting something like that.

The Red is a new enough medium that most of the really great DPs out there (i.e. people who are used to working on film) need people like me and a DIT to help advise on the best settings for the project. The DP's job is to know composition, lighting, angles, action, not the minutiae of every camera they could possibly encounter. The DP in this case set up a conference call with production and post teams and specifically asked me for input. Only problem is, I had never encountered this setting and didn't know to point it out. Do you know the difference between MAX footage and non-MAX footage? Can you see the difference? Maybe contribute something useful to the discussion like why MAX is your preference, if it is. And just saying "well it's the best" doesn't cut it in a world of smaller budgets and timelines in post.

Red is POST intensive. Any production team that doesn't solicit input from their friends in the post world is asking for headaches. It's NOT a traditional film shoot, and Red is evolving so quickly that there's no way for every DP to know it inside and out, the way they do film stocks from years of experience and documentation.

_My_ clients value my advice...

Joe Murray
Edit at Joe's
Charlotte, NC


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David Battistella
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 4, 2009 at 3:07:33 pm


Kris,

Read through this thread again and you will see that it is a discussion of how to make a workflow more efficient. IT would obviously have to be a decision between production and editorial.

In this case using MAX means that they have to use a different workflow which can have an impact on production, costs, etc.

I'm a DP myself and I have no problem entering these kinds of discussions if it is what is best for production. If using MAX settings can hinder the completion of the job or the way it is executed in post then it's completely up for grabs.

It sounds to me like the attitude in this thread is coming from you. It's true that as DP's we never want to or should compromise the image, but this is a case where it is actually worth discussing because it affects both sides of production and the CAMERA department needs to be concerned about that too.

David




Peace
Check out my new web series.
http://www.ripperhockey.com


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Joe Murray
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 4, 2009 at 3:26:10 pm

100% correct David. None of us that work on highend commercials with agencies would recommend something that would compromise the end result. I always err on the side of quality, and am happy to use the MAX workflow when necessary.

And in case I've offended any DPs out there, when I reference DPs that work with film, it's because I'm talking about the commercial world and the transition from film to digital. No offense intended to anyone without a film background.


Joe Murray
Edit at Joe's
Charlotte, NC


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Kris Anderson
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 4, 2009 at 11:07:40 pm

I don't feel I have any ill attitude in this. I'm speaking purely from my own experience.

I think, unless it's asked for, (and in this case it has been clarified that it was indeed asked for) it is not the place of post workers to specify camera settings. Telecine/Colourists yes, but others, no. On major agency work and features (specifically, Cannes awards winners and some large features) that I have worked on the editorial dept hasn't had any say on the shooting process and really, it would have been out of line to offer anything unless it was asked for, which was my original point.

Maybe I'm in an unusual spot where all the RED guys I know are owner/operators and have a very good understanding of what their cameras are capable of as opposed to operators who don't get their hands on them as often. I personally see very little difference between non-max and max. Max off is beneficial to the post process as outlined above but if a DP or client want it, who am I to argue?


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David Battistella
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 5, 2009 at 3:01:14 am


Kris,

It's all good. FYI. I am an owner operator and I also have a post background. I know this camera upside down and it was odd to me the other day reading through the FCS white paper that there was this line about MAX settings and realtime performance.

The COW is a good place where a lot of good information is shared. It might have seemed that there was a bit of "dissing" of the camera department but from a post perspective sometimes these small decisions that are overlooked or un-communicated can become a larger problem.

A friend of mine was just working on a big add in Europe as the VFX/editor on set. There were several occasions when he asked for a light stand moved two feet to save X number of man hours in Roto and matte work clean up.

Sometimes you can save major headaches just by moving a light two feet. He could foresee himself 30 days down the road having to do that one extra cleanup that could be solved in thirty seconds on set.

I tell this story because I think that Joe and I were having the discussion with that sort of thing in mind.

Let's all be friends and graze here while we get through yet another new industry technology.

All and all I think this has been a pretty good thread.

David



Peace
Check out my new web series.
http://www.ripperhockey.com


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Kris Anderson
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 5, 2009 at 7:50:45 am

David, it's all good.

I've been invited on set a few times with my Flame guys for that sort of thing and it's always a blessing to have that option. I honestly meant no disrespect. There's more than one way to skin a cat and different people have different ways of working. As long as the client gets their end product on time then everyone wins... except us guys who stay back late making it look beautiful!


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Uli Plank
Re: UPDATE: problem identified
on Aug 5, 2009 at 8:02:36 pm

Have a look at the excellent DVD-series "VFX for Directors" and you'll understand how important it is in this electronic age that post talks to production!

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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