FORUMS: list search recent posts

Best proxy settings for fast encode?

COW Forums : Square Box CatDV

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Jim Press
Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 24, 2012 at 12:57:00 am

Hi all,

We're just transitioning from FCS to CatDV and I'm setting up the proxy settings. Naturally we're trying to find settings that are an efficient balance of quality, size and speed of transcoding. I found this post (http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/278/613) from October 2010 using the x264 codec. Without knowing anything about x264 I have set up the proxy settings the same as we had them in FCS (which I set about 2 years ago): H264 800kbps 240x180, current frame rate (25fps).

Does this still seem like sensible settings?

Jim


Return to posts index

Robb Harriss
Re: Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 24, 2012 at 1:51:00 am

Myself, I'm using CatDV in conjunction with FCP 7. We make extensive use of the proxies for preliminary cuts, retaining the proxies right up to the point where we "make offline" the footage and go to the full rez bits. We use the sequences created in CatDV and sent over to FC and I do a lot of drag and drop from CatDV to FC as I poke around for missing bits and cover. I want to use a codec that I can edit with in FC without issue. A few times I've used ProRes proxy—but then I'd run into issues with handing off footage for someone to review on a non-FCP computer. I tend to go with one of the Jpeg proxy versions which is relatively problem free and I can hand off to others. I make it nice and small so I can carry around a few hundred hours of footage on a portable drive. If I had unlimited storage space (mostly relating to portable drives) I'd capture and save my originals in one of the upper ProRes and do all the proxies in ProRes Proxy full frame. We shoot HDCam using a Sony 750, so we're still using tape.

Non-linear: all the time and nothing but.


Return to posts index

Jim Press
Re: Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 24, 2012 at 2:35:37 am

Thanks for the fulsome reply Robb. That sounds like a very functional workflow. 90% of our footage is RED, the r3ds of which we archive to LTO after shooting and transcode to ProRes LT 720 to use as our online for a web finish. Our proxies in CatDV are really for use simply as an online library rather than for any editing, although the points you make about being able to use ProRes or jpegs for offline editing directly from CatDV is very interesting. We don't want to keep the proxies in ProRes as they'll just take up too much space, hence the reason we used h264 in FCS and are thinking we'd do the same for CatDV. But we obviously have a different workflow from you, and treating CatDV as a source of offline material clearly makes a lot of sense in your case.


Return to posts index


Robb Harriss
Re: Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 24, 2012 at 3:29:01 am

Ah well, I get it. You're using 720 to reduce the file size? I tend to do everything 1920x1080 just to keep my EDLs intact. All my finish work is full HD even when the final output is something less. Lately I did figure out a way to work in one frame size initially and then finish in another. That means I might adjust the proxies. But still I'm bringing everything in full size full rez. I'm making us quasi-file based by hanging onto the ProRes 422 files. I can mount the drive(s) and then use the media manager to consolidate all the shots I need without blowing up the system. Having the proxies available all the time is fantastic. When I'm done loading all our older footage I'll have 100% of our material available 100% of the time for all projects. We work in a seriously documentary style and our field footage gets mixed into new work for years.

On the output side everything is h.264 mp4. I haven't made a Flash file in ages. We're generally setup in html5 so our stuff can be viewed on mobile devices. Our sale versions are behind a Flash template so they cannot be saved easily locally, nor can someone sniff and save the path to the file. So h.264 is a big plus. But the 8 core mac pros haven't been all that speedy making them. Squeeze has been much faster and it's my goto over Compressor. But I also have one of the Turbo h.264 dongles that makes the process obscenely fast on machine where it isn't supposed to be. Unfortunately for me, one thing I like to do on proxies is burn in the reel name as well as the timecode. I'm working with people who don't handle CatDV's complexities all that well. They're more likely to give me indecipherable scribbled notes than notes in CatDV. But for "beauty" reference copies, why not?

Non-linear: all the time and nothing but.


Return to posts index

Jim Press
Re: Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 24, 2012 at 3:44:46 am

That's a good workflow, especially as you must have the space to keep all your 'old' tape footage as ProRes online all the time- presumably on a decent XSAN or similar (our ASAN is only 8TB so we are limited in what we can keep online- hence the need to keep very small proxies).

Interesting that you get Squeeze to compress faster than Compressor on your 8 Core machines- are you using QMaster to set up a cluster? We have 2 6-core (3.33GHz) 2010 machines, giving 24 virtual cores and Compressor just smashes files, but I haven't got that set up in CatDV yet (possibly we need the Worker Node to do that??).


Return to posts index

Robb Harriss
Re: Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 24, 2012 at 3:58:46 am

No, don't have much storage at all, which is why I do all the initial cutting with proxies, now. I stuck eSata extension cards in the Mac Pros (late 2007). So now I have two external eSata Connections on each of the two Pros. I use Voyager drive docks and plug those into eSata (sometime firewire 800 when I need to do a lot of swapping. These docks won't let you swap a drive unless you reboot). I use raw drive to store field footage. I can either copy footage onto the internal raid or work right off the drive in the dock, usually the former because I'm going to mix shots from different shoots.
I bought a 3T G-drive external that also has an eSata connection. That sits on my CatDV server. That's where the proxies live and it's accessible by everyone in the shop who needs to look at anything. CatDV so sweetly switches between the full rez originals and proxies. Though I do tend to keep the people on the older iMacs on the proxies across the network.
I don't know about the worker node. You can always setup compressor or squeeze or something like MPEG Streamclip to make proxies. My issues have been with making window burns. I really like the convenience of doing it all in CatDV. That said, sometimes the machine I use to bring in and catalog footage is busy with a couple of tasks and I can save a bunch of time by getting another machine to make the proxies.
Note, too, that we do a tremendous amount of interviews and have lots of transcripts and logs linked to the footage. We use Verbatim Logger a lot. It's weird, that print-oriented people simply don't understand why I keep asking them to go and look at the shot. The read something in a transcript and assume it's a perfect fit. Go and look at it and 60% of the time it's not as advertised. Therein is some of the enormous power of logging in general and CatDV in particular: you can find something in a transcript and instantly go right to the shot and review it.

Non-linear: all the time and nothing but.


Return to posts index


bryson jones
Re: Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 24, 2012 at 6:17:03 pm

For review and approval and archive use, my clients seem to use a lot of h.254 in 640X360 from 500k to 1Mb per sec, depending on their whims.

One of the great things about CatDV is that if you're working on something like DSLR, you might not even need to make a proxy unless you're using the web. Tons of footage flows through shops that never gets proxy, just thumbnails and you can call a restore or leave it online if it's small stuff. For RED, obviously you'll want to create a more manageable proxy but I always bring that up when folks come over from FCS.

For raw speed, I'd also consider setting up something a bit heavier like Compressor or Episode (if you're on a mac, Win would need other options) to make those proxies if you have a large amount of footage. The Worker Node can hand off jobs through the command line. The Worker is a great product but it's not a cluster or a dedicated transcoding engine and you might need multiples if you're doing a lot of proxy or other jobs will sit and wait while you crunch video.

bryson

bryson "at" hidefcowboy.com

hidefcowboy.com


Return to posts index

Robb Harriss
Re: Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 24, 2012 at 6:27:13 pm

h.254, h.264, whatever it takes. . .

Non-linear: all the time and nothing but.


Return to posts index

bryson jones
Re: Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 24, 2012 at 6:38:11 pm

;)

You know man, for speed, if you leave off "10" it goes way faster.

bryson

bryson "at" hidefcowboy.com

hidefcowboy.com


Return to posts index


Jim Press
Re: Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 24, 2012 at 10:25:03 pm

Thanks Bryson. You chiming in means a lot. Yes we're on Macs. We're seeing if we can function without the Worker node to start with I set off over 600 proxy builds last might so it'll be interesting to see how fast that's progressed.

BTW those videos of your presentation on YouTube are still a fabulous resource , even though they're aging a bit now. Perhaps we might be lucky enough to see a newer presentation soon? ;-)

Thanks again,

Jim


Return to posts index

Robb Harriss
Re: Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 24, 2012 at 10:26:39 pm

I mostly use the photo jpeg as well.
And Yes! for the Bryson videos. They made a huge difference for me.

Non-linear: all the time and nothing but.


Return to posts index

bryson jones
Re: Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 26, 2012 at 3:57:00 pm

Thanks Jim,

Yes, new videos are on the way on some new things we've been working on. Also a general "asset management for the mid-sized production" keynote that I did last summer needs to be recorded.

We'll see what happens at NAB. I'm sure there'll be much to talk about. ;)

bryson

bryson "at" hidefcowboy.com

hidefcowboy.com


Return to posts index


Jim Press
Re: Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 26, 2012 at 9:08:21 pm

Awesome Bryson! With FCS ending, I'm sure there's many many mid-sized productions keen as mustard for CatDV and a new video explaining its application would seal the deal. I look forward to it.


Return to posts index

Rolf Howarth
Re: Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 24, 2012 at 10:21:58 pm

If you want fast encode then Photo JPEG (with uncompressed PCM audio) can't be beat. File sizes aren't as small as H264 but it's really quick. Experiment with frame size and JPEG quality settings to get the best bit rate and image quality for your requirements.



Return to posts index

Jim Press
Re: Best proxy settings for fast encode?
on Mar 24, 2012 at 10:39:25 pm

Thanks Rob; thanks Rolf- I think photo jpeg was the default but I've never used it so thanks for the tip. I'll do a test and see if the size difference is prohibitive or not.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]