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AVID / SonyF3 XDCAM EX workflow?

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Morten Balling
AVID / SonyF3 XDCAM EX workflow?
on Jun 22, 2013 at 11:36:18 am

Hi all,

I'm going to grade a TV series, shot on SonyF3 XDCAM EX. The camera uses a mp4 wrap, and loading the raw mp4 files into Resolve gives black frames (kind of useless).

The series is going to be edited on Avid MC. I personally don't have one of those (and I seriously doubt I'll ever get one). I've tried to tell the customer, that using Sony F3/Avid, will give us a rather complicated workflow, compared to using FCP7 or FCX.

I've tried to convert the mp4 files using Premiere CS6, and that clips any video above 100 IRE. I also tried loading the mp4s into FCX, using Sony's PDZK-LT2 driver, and that works fine (no white clipping).

Does Avid white clip when loading into MC and converting to DNXHD?

What would be a good workflow? I've used FCP7 or FCX XML round tripping to Resolve, which works fine, but I'm not used to Avid/AAF. One option could be exporting the hole episode as one DNXHD file from the Avid together with and oldschool EDL, but I have concerns regarding the white clipping.

Thanks in advance.

Best regards

Morten :)


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dermot shane
Re: AVID / SonyF3 XDCAM EX workflow?
on Jun 22, 2013 at 2:01:44 pm

MC does not clip/crush, and reads the media directly.. so really no issues atall


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Morten Balling
Re: AVID / SonyF3 XDCAM EX workflow?
on Jun 23, 2013 at 4:09:28 pm

Thanks :)


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andrew sableton
Re: AVID / SonyF3 XDCAM EX workflow?
on Jun 24, 2013 at 4:51:36 pm

If you are going to be grading TV series in the future I would suggest purchasing an AVID license so you can handle the conform in a professional manner....


FCP 7 is dead and in a couple of years will not be used on anything at all. FCP X is barely being used on longform broadcast material and most major companies that were using FCP 7 were so burnt by the way Apple treated them that they won't consider betting on their software in the future. The companies I work with that have 40 + edit stations that were on FCP 7 have gone to AVID in every case. I hear that some smaller shops are trying Premiere with mixed results.

I would purchase AVID and transcode / consolidate to DNXHD and go AAF - good, solid, professional workflow.

AS


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Mike Jeffs
Re: AVID / SonyF3 XDCAM EX workflow?
on Jun 25, 2013 at 5:59:25 pm

We do a Avid to Resolve AAF round trip weekly here. With Resolve version 8 it was a bit of a hassle but worked, now with 9 we have almost no issues with the round trip.

Are you grading in-house or is the show sending you the media?

if your all in-house and can access the same Avid Media Files (Via a central storage or portable hard drive) you should have little to no problems.

Have the Avid Editor import the f3 footage to a Online format such as DNXHD 145 or Apple Pro Res 422, relink to the final sequence Export a AAF from avid. In conform of resolve import the AAF and when prompted to find the files point to the Avid Media Files folder on the hard drive or central storage. Resolve will import clips just like with a FCP XML. Grade away.

For export you have two options depending on if you are finishing in resolve or needing to go back to Avid. if finishing in resolve just export a finished flat file. if you need to round trip back to avid. in deliver select the easy setup for avid found trip. and then point you render location to the Avid Media files but make a new numbered folder (2) render and then go back to the conform page and export a AAF.

The avid editor can now import the AAF and get a sequcnec similar to how FCP7 XML creates a new sequence with the graded clips.

Mike Jeffs
Video Coordinator
BYU-Idaho


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Morten Balling
Re: AVID / SonyF3 XDCAM EX workflow?
on Jun 25, 2013 at 6:57:35 pm

@Mike

I'm going to grade on my own Mac (I'm a freelancer working at home). The editing will be done at the production company. Previously I've recieved FCP7 projects from the same customer, on an external hard drive, which they exported using Media Manager. That way, I could open the project, clean up the timeline and remove anything that Resolve didn't like. After grading, I round tripped back to FCP7, fixed issues like text etc, and made a ProRes master.

With the AAF workflow I foresee problems with things like stabilizing, credits, speed ramps etc. Also, there are the occasional missing clips, due to something I never figured out. Using multicam editing in FCX makes Resolve pretty confused.

I think we end up with a workflow, where the MP4 dailies are backed up, and later converted to a MOV (XDCAM EX) container, using "XDCAM Transfer". I tested that, and resolve loads the MOV perfectly, without white clipping. Compared to another project I'm working on, (RED/FCX/Resolve), I honestly can't figure out, why the XDCAM/AVID/Resolve workflow has to be so difficult. I think the money saved on camera rent will quickly be spent on an Avid assistant, having to convert/transcode everything.

My skepticism towards Avid goes way back, but I think it started when I was technical manager at a large facility many years ago. I was asked to upgrade an Avid MC from low res offline to online. That cost close to 100K$ back then. The upgrade was an extra SCSI cable and a new dongle for the software. Extra hard drives were 10x the price of the exact same drive without the Avid software header. I could continue for hours, but I will spare you that ;)

All in all, we just need to do what everybody always should do: Test the workflow before starting up.

@Andrew
Last week I called about 15 of my old colleagues at different facilities in Copenhagen, to make a quick poll on the NLE situation. I expected to hear that Avid was taking over, but surprisingly people mainly said they were still using FCP7. Some were starting to use FCX and many had purchased Premiere as a "Swiss knife" hub. Some had Avid, but most hated it, due to it's input/output, which has always been limited in it's capabilities towards talking to other software. I think Quantel was worse than Avid, but the really struggled to get that price.

Personally I've edited a lot in FCX, and after a rather difficult birth of the software, I have to say I like it a lot. There are still a few things missing, but the timeline is amazing, and it's blazingly fast compared to anything else I've seen so far.

Before you think that I'm "just one of those new kids with an iToy": I've been working with film and TV for 25 years, as a 3D animator, Inferno/Nuke compositor, VFX supervisor and the last seven years mainly as a colorist.

Thanks for your replies

Best regards

Morten :)


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andrew sableton
Re: AVID / SonyF3 XDCAM EX workflow?
on Jun 25, 2013 at 7:24:37 pm

AVID is a mixed bag and I don't love it.....some things work well, others are clunky.....for file based workflows, which is almost everything these days, it can be a bit clumsy.... but having used FCP 7, FCP X and Premiere as well, I would say the same in different ways for each app.

In the biggest production city in the Western world (Los Angeles), there has been a tidal shift back to AVID, for better or worse... At least it is more open for I/O and cheaper than in the past......

Whatever people say about native workflows, I've found any workflow that involves moving between apps benefits greatly from consolidating to a single, post friendly codec.

It seems to me the process you are describing for FCP 7 is basically the same as you should be doing for and AVID workflow - simplfying / baking the timeline (video mixdowns in AVID terminology). I think the difference is more of familiarity rather than complexity or bugginess in general.

S


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Morten Balling
Re: AVID / SonyF3 XDCAM EX workflow?
on Jun 25, 2013 at 8:34:31 pm

You're right. Avid's way better (and cheaper) than it used to be. And I'm pretty prejudiced against it. Regarding familiarity I'm not that easily scared. A hammer is a hammer.

The customer offered me to buy me a MC license, which is probably what we'll end up doing. That should fix most of my worries, and give me the possibility, to sort out most of the stuff they didn't think about. I'm looking forward to the day, when i finally get a closed edit... :)


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Mike Jeffs
Re: AVID / SonyF3 XDCAM EX workflow?
on Jun 25, 2013 at 9:34:46 pm

[Morten Balling] "With the AAF workflow I foresee problems with things like stabilizing, credits, speed ramps etc. Also, there are the occasional missing clips, due to something I never figured out. Using multicam editing in FCX makes Resolve pretty confused."

We work with F3 footage all the time in conjunction with avid and resolve and effects such as stabilize or BCC stuff. there is just one added step to what I outlined. after you have brought in the AAF to Avid all of the graded clips are loaded into the same bin. You highlight all of the new master clips select modify and then select source. There you can change the tape name of the clips. since the new clips come from resolve they don't have a tape name so you can give it any name you want. Then with your original imported F3 ungraded clips select and modify there tape name to match exactly what you named your graded clips. Now you can highlight your finished sequence that has all the effects, stabilize, etc. and do a relink. now your sequence has all of your effects and graded footage.



so to get the footage from the production house have them do a consolidate ( which is like media manager of FCP) of there project to the hard drive they are sending you and then you will have the Avid project and the correct Avid Media files folder structure.

then you can open it up and export the AAF.

seems complicated but it really does work

Mike Jeffs
Video Coordinator
BYU-Idaho


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Pepijn Klijs
Re: AVID / SonyF3 XDCAM EX workflow?
on Jun 27, 2013 at 10:35:09 pm

I recently bought an Avid license as well. Here in Holland no one uses Premiere and FCP is slowly dying.

But I don't see a lot of difference in workflow between fcp7 and avid when dealing with xdcam ex. I edited entire seasons of tv shows with xdcam ex and fcp7, and we always had to first go thru xdcam transfer before going to fcp. In avid I would bring 'm n thru AMA and transcode and probably spent a few minutes extra with the benefit of having it in a more workable codec (dnxhd) from there on. MC v7 even transcodes in the background now.

Here in Holland Avid is definetely winning ground and Im expecting them to keep growing. It's also a chicken and egg story; many editors don't know Adobe Premiere so companies don't invest in it if they want to work with experienced editors.

Editor/Colorist, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
http://www.pepijnklijs.nl


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