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Best codec/container for my short film

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Matthias Noe
Best codec/container for my short film
on Feb 18, 2015 at 4:01:29 pm

Hey folks,

I'm going to export a short film of mine from Premiere for my colorist, who has never worked with Davinci Resolve before. Therefore he couldn't tell me what the best codec was, that i could send him. We shot on RED but about 80% of the footage was furtherly processed in After Effects anyways, so native RED codec isn't an option. Also, to save time, he just wanted me to give him the hole film in a high quality video file so he could use Resolve's scene detection and work his way more quickly through the movie. Now my question is, what should that file be? As far as I can see, it comes down to the following aspects,

1) It has to be effectively lossless. That doesn't mean it has to be completely lossless, but it should preserve image information as good as it's neccessary to allow him the maximum range of image control. Whilst working inbetween Premiere and After Effects, I fell in love with Jpeg2000 (in a Quick Time container), because it provides modest file sizes but no significant loss in quality. (Playback in Premiere was a bit of a pain, but it rendered pretty fast.) And of course, JPEG2000 has the ability to go higher than 8 bit and is even used for the 'lossless' RedcodeRAW.

2) It has to be compatible with Resolve. To check for myself, I downloaded the Lite version of Resolve today and it doesn't seem to recognize *mov files with jpeg2000 codec at all. Those files don't even show up in the library window in the folder where they are saved (which is kind of odd, actually - is this normal?). So there is some need for a codec other than JPEG2000.

3) As indicated in 1), size is an issue. Mainly because he's doing the job at home and not on his working place, therefore doesn't have unlimited the disk space or computational power of his work station, but also because i want to send him the file via my cloud drive. So I plan to get myself a Google Drive 100 GB account today, but still, the upload rate will be so low, that it would take literally 24 hours to upload that video, for example, as a TIFF sequence. Comparing Jpeg2000-files to TIFF Sequences showed me how big the difference in file size can be, while the difference in quality is negligible for grading purposes. So is there a codec, that is easy on file size but doesn't get me 30+GB files?

So it comes down to this question: [b]Is there a codec/container-combination that is compatible with resolve, effectively lossless AND not very demanding when it comes to disk space?

Here is some data about the film, that are crucial for estimating the file size:
Our output resolution will be FullHD (1920 x1080) progressive, the film was shot with 25fps, and the final cut adds up to a length of almost 14 minutes. Would be amazing to get some advise from you.

Regards,
Matthias


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Joseph Owens
Re: Best codec/container for my short film
on Feb 18, 2015 at 6:01:13 pm

[Matthias Noe] "I'm going to export a short film of mine from Premiere for my colorist, who has never worked with Davinci Resolve before. "

What could possibly go wrong?


"1) It has to be effectively lossless."
"2) It has to be compatible with Resolve."
"3) As indicated in 1), size is an issue."
"Our output resolution will be FullHD (1920 x1080) progressive, the film was shot with 25fps, and the final cut adds up to a length of almost 14 minutes."


JPEG2000 is more effectively a release format, created to be used with DCI/DCP exhibition in mind. Not really a post production format.

Good, Fast, Cheap prevails. ProRes 422 and DNxHD X would be good choices... both are 10-bit containers. You will be looking at about 1 GB per minute, so in your case the final file size will be around 15 GB. Probably about 16-24 hours to upload with moderately capable net subscriptions -- kind of looks like you would need Aspera service as most consumer-level file sharing does not go above 2 GB at a time -- some "Pro-sumer" level file-sharing services allow up to 10 GB at a time for $120 per year. FedEx would be faster and cheaper.

Bon Chance.

jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Best codec/container for my short film
on Feb 18, 2015 at 6:11:20 pm

You seem to be operating under a mistaken belief that you and your project will gain something by having it color corrected/graded in Resolve, even though the operator admittedly has no experience with the application. In fact, you would be much better off, for any number of reasons, by having an experienced colorist do the job right in Premiere.

What exactly do you believe the advantage to be for you in using Resolve? What app is your prospective colorist actually proficient with?

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Joseph Owens
Re: Best codec/container for my short film
on Feb 20, 2015 at 4:05:13 pm

The OP cross-posted this to another forum and has opted for a dpx workflow... last time I checked, anyway. Seems to be locked into a sequential-file workflow for some reason.

jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Best codec/container for my short film
on Feb 20, 2015 at 5:40:40 pm

I guess the OP thinks colorists just push the buttons and the application takes over from there?

If using Resolve automatically guaranteed good color Blackmagic would really have something. :)

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Joakim Ziegler
Re: Best codec/container for my short film
on Mar 3, 2015 at 5:38:25 am

Anything from ProRes HQ 422 to ProRes 4444 or ProRes 4444 XQ (I assume Premiere can do that) will work well. ProRes 4444 XQ can do 12-bit (but I'm not sure Resolve writes it as 12-bit, it writes normal 4444 as 10-bit even though it can also support 12-bit), and is as close to lossless as you can get. It's about 2.5-3 gigs per minute, though, so not extremely lightweight, but still a lot better than any uncompressed options.

--
Joakim Ziegler - Postproduction Supervisor


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