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Re: Do you conform inside Resolve?

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Chris Kenny
Re: Do you conform inside Resolve?
on Mar 9, 2013 at 6:31:33 am

[MichaelMaier] "I was not sure if I should post this in the basics forum or here. Something tells me this is not really a basic question.

Once you are done with your grade, what do you do? You export the files out to be re-imported in the NLE and finished/final exported to DCP, Blu-ray etc? Or do you finish it from Resolve? If so, how do you do with the soundtrack/audio mix?

I guess this is more of a workflow question. I wonder for example how big feature films do. If they export the final output straight from Resolve or not. It seems to me that it would be preferable to do it from Resolve to avoid re-compression. I know big budget features use uncompressed but at least to avoid another step?"

[MichaelMaier] "This is what I'm talking about. I think rendering out of Resolve as DPX 16bit (at least) would be best. Maybe EXR is even better. But then there's the question of where to finish it. Not all NLE work well with DPX let alone EXR."

The budget DIY solution is to export ProRes 4444 and take it into FCP 7, FCP X (which actually has some pretty cool abilities with respect to routing multichannel audio and batch-generating multiple deliverables formats) or perhaps Premiere Pro.

Technically, yes, you are losing something with ProRes 4444 vs. DPX. As a practical matter, you will likely never be able to tell the difference. ProRes 4444 is widely used as a mastering codec in the indie film world. It's similar in quality to HDCAM SR, which has generally been considered an acceptable master format. In fact, the last time we delivered a product to have a DCP made, we had prepped a DPX sequence, and our contact at the other facility basically told us that yeah, they can handle DPX, but the vast majority of projects are delivering ProRes these days.

As for generational quality loss from compressing twice, that's not really a big deal. First, ProRes is specifically designed to minimize generational quality loss, for just these sorts of scenarios. Secondly, while I'm not sure how Premiere handles things, in FCP 7 and X, if you export a sequence containing ProRes footage to a ProRes file, re-compression only occurs where necessary — for instance, if you've layered titles on top of the video. If a segment of video is untouched, the ProRes data is simply copied from the input file to the output file, rather than being decoded and then re-encoded.

If you do want to master to DPX, though, Premiere Pro does support it, although I haven't tested this workflow. The next step up in terms of price would probably be Smoke.

Depending on the types of projects you work on, however, mastering in Resolve may indeed be viable. Note that Resolve supports alpha channels in ProRes 4444 files, which gives you a pretty easy way to get title over image, etc. You can bring in audio, sync it up, and embed it in your outputs. The main limitations with this approach are a) you're going to be rendering out a bunch of elements in other apps and bringing them into Resolve, where in a fully-fledged finishing tool you could do everything in one app, b) if you need fancy audio channel configurations, etc. in QuickTime outputs there's no way to set that up, and c) if your program is long enough to have been broken up into reels, you might need to splice them together in an external app. Although the last limitation goes away if you're rendering to an image sequence format; then if you setup your timecode correctly you can just render all your reels to one folder and get a continuous sequence. (Though note that for e.g. mastering a DCP the facility you deliver to may prefer reels.)

Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

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