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Million Cameras, One DaVinci: A Workflow Story

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Brittany DeLillo
Million Cameras, One DaVinci: A Workflow Story
on Oct 24, 2014 at 9:57:44 pm

Hi all,

I have a feature that was cut in Final Cut Pro 7 and is being graded in DaVinci Resolve 11. All the footage was transcoded to ProRes Proxy for the offline and they want to go back to the online for the grade. Below is breakdown of my options for the various media formats and how I am considering handling them.

NOTE: They initially graded the whole project as a ProRes QT using Scene Detect, but felt that it didn't illicit a high enough quality render, hence the desire to jump back to the raw footage.

5D = Go to RAW H.264 or ProRes 444?
RED = RAW R3Ds (which I believe are 4k and over cranked)
GoPro = RAW
F3 = Convert to ProRes 422HQ (I can't find a way to get it to 444, is there a way? I've tried literately everything and I know DaVinci doesn't agree with the raw MTS files that Sony cameras shoot)
FS700 = Same as above
C300 = RAW
Images = RAW (or convert to alternate file format)
Stock footage = keep original or convert to ProRes?

Would anyone recommend an alternate treatment to some of these? What is the best practice for the Sony cameras? I've used ClipWrap in the past but it only works for one of the Sony cameras. I also tried the Log and Transfer method but it tops out at 422HQ.

Thanks in advance for filling in the holes, folks.


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Marc Wielage
Re: Million Cameras, One DaVinci: A Workflow Story
on Oct 25, 2014 at 5:08:13 am

So many of these cameras are 8-bit and/or 422, I don't think going beyond ProRes 422 will buy you anything. The Red footage would definitely benefit from ProRes 444, but going from the original R3Ds might yield more range.

Coming up with an overall strategy for file formats in a workflow is one of the major decisions you have to make when you start a large post project. One can make good arguments as to mixed formats or getting most of them converted to something that works well with your conform/color-correction platform. A lot depends on your available budget and schedule.

A Google search reveals that many, many people have run into the ProRes 422 limitation for XDCam. BTW, I assume you mean QT LT in your offline format, which I agree is not good enough to use for color-correction and final release.


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Brittany DeLillo
Re: Million Cameras, One DaVinci: A Workflow Story
on Oct 25, 2014 at 3:27:03 pm

Thanks for the response Marc.

As always, planning for these situations way before post starts is crucial. Unfortunately, I was brought onto the job late in the post timeline, so I couldn't have workflow discussions with the team.

You've confirmed my suspicions regarding 422. It seems the Red is the only format that will truly benefit from being 100% raw.

And yes, QT LT, hence why they wanted to redo the grade with more than a flattened QT export of their timeline (since it was based on proxy media).

Thanks again, Marc. Have a great weekend!


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Marc Wielage
Re: Million Cameras, One DaVinci: A Workflow Story
on Oct 26, 2014 at 7:44:32 am

[Brittany DeLillo] "You've confirmed my suspicions regarding 422. It seems the Red is the only format that will truly benefit from being 100% raw."
Actually, Arri Log-C works great, as does Blackmagic CinemaDNG and Canon Log. There are some advantages to keeping this it at least a log-ish format. It's the baked-in looks that kill us in post.

I sympathize with having to work with lots of different camera formats in a single one project. I did one a few years ago that had multiple 35mm film cameras, 16mm cameras, DV camcorders, HD cameras, Super 8, you name it. Quite a post nightmare, but it worked out in the end. It's a rare project these days that doesn't use at least two kinds of cameras and formats.


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Nick Anderson
Re: Million Cameras, One DaVinci: A Workflow Story
on Oct 27, 2014 at 8:03:55 am

Try ACES mode, it helps a lot, although still a little bit buggy, but worth a try.
I'm just working on a feature used more than 10 digital cameras, almost everything you can find on the market. ACES really helped.

Good luck grading.


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