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Matt Korshis
RED Post Workflow
on Dec 12, 2010 at 10:47:56 am

Hi there,
I am about to edit my first short film and have a couple of questions regarding the post workflow. The film was shot on RED. I am editing it with Premiere CS5(Windows). I have 2-3 VFX shots which I plan to achieve in After Effects. The DP is going to grade the film using Color(Mac).

I am fairly newb to editing in regard to actually requiring a proper workflow. I have read for hours online about RED workflow but have been unable to find something that explains it in a way that wil work for me.

My questions are:

1. Is it important that any grading is done to the original RED files because best results can be pulled from the footage?

2. If the above is correct how do any vfx/composited shots get graded? Does the DP need to grade the footage before I do any After Effects work?

I think what I am lacking is the basic understanding of how different people can work on the same footage without having to continually render out and lose quality with every render?

Any help or suggested reading would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Matt


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Neil Myers
Re: RED Post Workflow
on Dec 20, 2010 at 4:25:39 pm

Matt:

Interestingly, I have the exact same questions. I was disappointed to see no responses. My situation is almost identical, except my project is an industrial. Here is what I have found. Hopefully someone who actually knows what they are talking about will jump in. :)

1. The Red format is RAW. Among other things, that means the RAW files need sharpening and color correcting.

2. The sharpening thing is very important. As I understand it, most video cameras do the sharpening in the camera. The Red RAW doesn't, which gives the editor more control over the final look. But if you do nothing the footage is quite "soft" to the point of seeming blurry.

You can use Red software to do this, but I choose to do it in Premiere using an unsharp mask. The results were quite amazing -- from usable to excellent with just one filter.

3. Color correction is another story. Mac users have Color (an app that ships with FCP) to use for color correcting. Us Windows folks can use a number of tools. Premiere has a bunch -- so does After Effects. The software you use does matter, but not nearly as much as the operator. If you have not done so yet, take the time to read a few books on color science. The concepts are a bit difficult to comprehend at first, but I don't think you can edit unless you understand them.

Once you do understand color science, the basics of color correction are straightforward and just many of the color correction tools in Premiere or After Effects will do the job. I really like Color Finesse in AE, but even the Fast Color Corrector in Premiere does a good job.

4. One BIG difference in Premiere Pro and After Effects is that they now work with Red Raw format natively. You can load in 4k or 4.5k files and treat them like any other footage. If you use Dynamic Link you can take a clip on the timeline from PPro and edit it in AE and bring it back ... with no re-rendering or transcoding.

I am not a Mac guy, but it seems to me that from reading that FCP cannot edit Red RAW natively. Is that true? If so, is that why every Mac guy I talk to ignores Premiere Pro's ability to edit Red Raw natively and suggests that you transcode the footage first? When I press them as to why I shouldn't just stay native until I export the final product all they can come up with is "that's what everyone does".

Anyway, that's what I have found so far. I would love a Windows/PPro/Red user to chime in and correct anything I have mangled. While you are at it, my specific questions are:

1. Do you need to use RedCine X, or can CS5 do everything you need.

2. Is there a reason to transcode before editing in PPro?

3. Which of the PPro color correction tools work the best for you?

4. Have you had any issues with CS5 Dynamic Link? I find that it sometimes crashes or does weird things when using Red Raw footage. Yes, I have the current versions. Yes, I deleted the preference files.

By the way -- I just noticed my signature says CS4 ... I need to change that. I use CS5.

Neil Myers
Connect Public Relations
CS4 Master Suite, 3DS


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